Why Bottas pitted late in the race? Why was there no jump start penalty?

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Toto Wolff explains why Mercedes decided to pit Valtteri Bottas late in the race, while Race Director Michael Massi explains why the Finn didn’t get a jump start penalty.

Valtteri Bottas has a bad start to the Hungarian Grand Prix. First he almost jump started the race and then dropped to P6. The Finn fought his way back to P3 and in the later stages of the grand prix managed to get close to Max Verstappen. However, he was called to the pits on Lap 49 of 70 for a fresh set of tyres, which dropped him 20 seconds back. He did once again catch up to Verstappen, but couldn’t overtake him before the end of the race.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff insists the pit stop was necessary.

“No, it would have been wrong [to keep him out] because Valtteri’s tyre started to grain on the left-front quite heavily because he was pushing so hard,” Wolff said.

“We think he would have run out of tyre anyway, and putting him onto a new hard, [in] a similar way like last year with Lewis [Hamilton], was actually the only chance of trying to snatch P2.

“At the end it wasn’t sufficient. There was quite a lot of traffic in-between that we didn’t clear fast enough, and I think it was a recovery drive.”

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Bottas says he initially agreed with the decision to stop.

“At that time it felt like a good thing to do because the tyre difference between me and Max was quite minimal,” Bottas explained.

“If I would not stop, everyone knows how difficult it is to overtake on this track, so I was quite happy at that point to stop, because I knew there was a bigger tyre difference at the end and it nearly worked.

“Obviously there were quite a few backmarkers I had to go through. [I] lost a bit of time during that and in the end it was a matter of one extra lap or two laps.

“You can see the big picture. It was obvious in the end I was quite a bit quicker, obviously thanks also to fresher tyres, but that was not quite enough.”

And as for the near-jump start, Race Director Michael Massi explains why the Finn wasn’t penalized.

“There are two parts to that,” said Massi.

“The means by which a false start is determined is actually clearly determined in the sporting regulations, and has been the same process for a number of years, which is the transponder that’s fitted to each car is the judgement mechanism.

“There is a sensor in the road, in the track, as well. There’s a tolerance within that, and as we saw in Japan last year, that is the determining factor.

“So there was nothing further to have a look at. We spoke to the timekeepers immediately, and they reviewed all the data, and that was the end of the matter.”

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