Valtteri Bottas explains his “very, very messy first lap”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

The Italian Grand Prix was another unfortunate race for Valtteri Bottas. He Finn lost a few positions in the first lap of the race and ultimately finished in P5.

The trouble started right from the get-go when the Finn apparently almost jumped the start.

“Yes, I had an issue with the actual reaction to the lights,” explained Bottas after the race.

“We’ve been playing around with the way we do practicing, the protocol we use. We’ve changed that a bit and I feel that has been a disturbance, sometimes, to the actual starts. It has not really been representative in the starts.

“I cannot go into much more detail but from my side I nearly went before the lights, but luckily not as much as in one of the first races – I can’t remember which one – so I was a bit late reacting to the lights.

“Just things still to work on. The actual launch, after we drop the clutch, is actually fine and we’ve made good progress but just getting the consistency in the reaction to the lights, there’s work to do.”

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However things didn’t get much better after that. First Bottas was overtaken by Lando Norris and then Daniel Ricciardo. The Finn could be heard on the team radio talking about a possible tyre puncture, something the team dismissed at the time.

“We just had a debrief and there was nothing from the car that we could see for now, maybe later. Just from my side I had two contacts: I had one in Turn 2 and then a slightly bigger one in Turn 5, but still not like a massive contact.

“In Turn 6 I was on the outside and had quite a bit of understeer, then in Turn 7 I had quite a bit of understeer that it felt like a puncture. Then, out of Turn 7, the car was pulling a little bit to the right and to the left, so it didn’t feel right, so I was convinced I had a puncture coming into Turn 8.

“That’s why I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to go straight in Turn 8, so I braked early, but then it actually kind of recovered and it was fine. So, I’m not sure if it was something on the tyre, if something was wrong with the car because of the contact.

“I haven’t heard anything yet about the corner weights but it felt really odd, so a very, very messy first lap,” concluded Bottas.


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