Toto Wolff on how Mercedes ‘let Valtteri Bottas down’

© LAT Images for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd

Valtteri Bottas didn’t have a great Portuguese Grand Prix, however he did manage to finish third and get an extra point for fastest lap.

The Finn started the race from pole, but experienced a lack of pace in the first stint of the race, which led to him losing his position to Lewis Hamilton on lap 20.

“I don’t really know why in the first stint I didn’t have the pace,” Bottas said in the post-race press conference.

“It felt like everything, in terms of race start and restart was good from our side but I could see quite quickly in the race that we just didn’t have the pace, like Lewis and Max had and I don’t really have an explanation.”

After his pit stop he immediately lost P2 to Max Verstappen, due to problems with his new hard tyres warm-up. However, later he managed to close the gap to the Dutch driver, but ultimately an exhaust temperature sensor issue prevented him from mounting an attack.

“It was better on the hard tyre, at some point I was catching Max and then I had an issue with one sensor, I started to lose power and lost about five seconds to Max and that was it.

“It was pretty bad [the first lap on hard tyres], we knew that our warm-up of tyres was pretty tricky, but afterwards, once we got heat into the tyres, it was actually not bad and better than with the mediums.

“We’ve got lots of things to look at, to analyze and to learn for me in the next three days before we start focusing on the next race,” concluded Bottas.

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Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says, on this occasion, Mercedes let Bottas down.

“We lost the undercut, that was unfortunate, and then we let him down with the engine that went into a safety mode,” the Austrian explained.

“All in all, like many times, it could have worked for Valtteri and we were pushing hard and will continue to support him and next time will see what he is capable of doing in Barcelona.

Wolff then further explained how the sensor issue cost Valtteri time.

“That was unfortunate because he really caught up well to Max and then it kind of stabilised at 1.5 to 1.6 seconds, but he had more to come at the end of the race.

“Then we made a switch change in order to override a sensor that was saying we are running too hot on the exhaust temperatures.

“We couldn’t override it so the engine went into protection mode and it cost him five seconds,” concluded Wolff.

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