Valtteri Bottas: “We should have been on the podium today”

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Valtteri Bottas suffered a tyre puncture at the Qatar Grand Prix and was ultimately told to retire his car to prevent further damage.

Valtteri Bottas started the Qatar Grand Prix from P6, after being handed a three-place grid penalty for ignoring single-waved yellow flags.

Unfortunately he also had a poor start which dropped him back down the grid a bit.

“[I was] quite surprised,” Bottas said after the race.

“On the formation lap I couldn’t really get enough temperature into the tyres and then [on] the race start it was wheel-spinning, and the first three corners were pretty much on ice, but then it was getting better and better.”

Bottas did indeed climb back up to P3, and his single-stop strategy could have brought him into contention for P2, but then he suffered a tyre failure on Lap 33.

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“With the puncture there was no warning, no vibration, no loss of grip, everything was feeling normal and the pace was very consistent and then it just happened.

“Not the first time to be honest.”

After his tyre change he rejoined the race in P14, but was later retired because his car was “too damaged – we just wanted to not break it even more”.

The Finn says had it not been for the puncture, he could have gotten a podium finish.

“Apart from the poor first lap with quite poor grip, it was going okay once I started to make progress. The pace was good.

“I honestly think we should have been on the podium today,” Bottas concluded.

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