Valtteri Bottas says his lack of pace in Baku was “not normal”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Valtteri Bottas says he couldn’t have gone any faster at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, and Mercedes will have to “understand” the reason for his lack of pace “before going to France”.

Valtteri Bottas had a tough time during the whole Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend. While his team-mate Lewis Hamilton seemed to be able to find competitive pace in qualifying and the race, Bottas was not as successful.

Ultimately the Finn finished the race in P12, a dismal result for Mercedes.

“Mainly the main issue was the lack of pace, and just not being quick enough,” said Bottas.

“Quite early on in the race I could see that I just couldn’t quite match the cars ahead, especially when the Aston Martin was ahead of me, I just couldn’t keep up.

“Still, I’m confused and it’s really weird.”

Journalists later suggested that the reason for his pace deficit to Hamilton perhaps lies in the slightly different rear wing configurations that the two drivers ran, but Bottas doesn’t think it made that much difference.

“It’s something we need to review, but we know it’s not going to be much – it’s going to be, maximum, one-tenth, so I don’t think that’s the key thing.

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“We started the weekend with the same wing and I’ve been behind Lewis all the time by quite a big margin.

“I can’t remember having this kind of weekend before. Yes, there were a few weekends where I’ve had bad sessions but always, at some point, I had the pace.

“I know myself where the limit is, and I cannot go faster than this, still six, seven, eight tenths behind.

“It’s not normal, so it’s something we need to understand before going to France.”

However, the Finn is optimistic that a return to a regular racing circuit, after racing on two street circuits like Monaco and Baku, could also lead to a return to form for Mercedes.

“France is, of course, very different, there’s long corners, high-speed corners.

“I think one issue we struggled here was tyre warm-up, especially on the front axle, so that should be a bit easier in the next race at least, and then we’ll see.

“We must learn from this weekend, but also it’s one to forget,” concluded Bottas.

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