Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Shanghai International Circuit, 2017

My “stupid” mistake was worse than the team’s – Bottas

2017 Chinese Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas says he deserves the majority of the blame for his low finishing position in today’s Chinese Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver lost time in both his pit stops but said it was his spin behind the Safety Car which spoiled his race.

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Shanghai International Circuit, 2017
2017 Chinese Grand Prix in pictures
“Behind the Safety Car I was trying to generate as much tyre temperature as I could and I went too far away, was too aggressive, made a mistake and spun,” he explained. “And I lost so many places.”

“After that is was tricky for a while to get the tyres back to working. I got them eventually there and the pace towards the end of the race was good. But from the stupid mistake of mine we lost a lot of points today.”

His race had begun to go wrong when he made his first pit stop during the Safety Car period. “I think for everyone quite a tricky start with the call when to change to the dry tyres,” he said.

“We had a bit of an issue with a pit stop, lost a couple of places, but that was no big drama in these conditions, there was still a long race ahead of us.”

After his spin, which left him 12th, Bottas lost more time when he came back into the pits for his final stop.

“Initially the rear of the car dropped, the rear jack, so they couldn’t change the rear left tyre. And once they change it I think there was a problem with the lights, it was red and I wasn’t allowed to go. But that was a small mistake compared to mine.”

Bottas added he was surprised by Max Verstappen’s overtake on him during the race, but said it didn’t have any bearing on his ultimate finishing position of sixth.

“He was quite a bit quicker and I could see him from the mirrors. There was no way I was expecting him to dive in. But I don’t think that decided any positions today.”

2017 Chinese Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 28 comments on “My “stupid” mistake was worse than the team’s – Bottas”

    1. For a new driver in a top team he cannot afford to make those mistakes, especially against Hamilton.
      2 more races, then I’ll start putting him in the same category as Kimi if he doesn’t improve (

      1. The Finns not as strong as I expected. Kimi is undoubtedly one of the best drivers of his generation but his time is over. Today he just wasn’t there. Vettel got passed him even though it took him 10 laps. Several got passed Ric and then VES, while RAI couldn’t get passed anyone. I still have hope that the Iceman strikes back in Bahrain.

        1. I thought Kimi had some driveability issues.

          1. Yeah that’s what the race radio suggested. He was also screwed over by the team strategy wise. To be fair I thought this was a better race for Kimi.

    2. In the big time now valteri……. You bottled it!

      1. I’m not surprised at all. Right from the time they signed him, it seemed they hired another Kovalainen to keep Lewis happy. Luckily for Mercedes, their closest rival also has an underperforming number 2 driver, so it should balance things out in the WCC race. But for some reason, if Mercedes weren’t to win the WCC this year, I could easily see them dropping Bottas for a more exciting prospect.

        1. Putting real pressure on Lewis with a capable teammate worked like a charm for Mercedes in recent years, so I don’t think they purposefully wanted to change it. I think they signed Bottas hoping he would be another Rosberg, rather than another Kovalainen. Either way, I think two races is not enough to make a judgement on Valtteri. Time will tell.

        2. If the objective was to keep “Lewis happy”, wouldn’t it have been better to get Welhein? Would have been cheaper too.

          1. If the objective was to keep “Lewis happy”, wouldn’t it have been better to get Welhein?

            Exactly.

            To be fair to Bottas for a lot of the race he was on the pace of HAM/VET. He also suffered in the pits which wasnt his fault. I think its still too early to completely write him off.

    3. Way too early to tell but what would it be if Bottas goes through 2017 without a win. As it looks now under normal circumstances Vettel or Hamilton will always have it covered.

      1. nelson piquet
        9th April 2017, 10:32

        haryanto is as likely as bottas getting a win atm

      2. Ferrari, Seb fan
        9th April 2017, 11:02

        @xtwl

        As it looks now under normal circumstances Vettel or Hamilton will always have it covered.

        True

        1. Hell, even Raikkonen could win next time out considering it’s his playground Bahrain. Bottas is doing a 2008 Kovalainen whereas Kimi seems to be doing exactly what he did in 2008. Vettel and Hamilton seem like they might be winning most races although Red Bull could sneak one or two in, towards the end of season.
          SIDE NOTE- I want Ricciardo to prove he is faster than Verstappen but Max is just looking so fast and come the end of 2017, he should be ahead on points.

          1. I still rate Bottas higher than Kovalainen, and admitting a mistake is admirable, but I have to concede he is no match for Hamilton unless he improves a lot.

            After this year, pehraps people will start to realize how amazing Rosberg was, and only unlucky to be paired with one of the very few who were better than him.

      3. That is true @xtwl no need for the team to call him Nico though

        1. That is true @johnmilk it’s an insult to Nico

    4. Still very early days for Bottas at Mercedes but he can’t afford too many days like today. I hope, for his sake, that he pulls it together soon or else he might find that he’s at the bottom of the list for new parts. And there’s far too much talent available next year for Mercedes to keep a number 2 driver.

    5. I expected him to be a flop after his performance against Massa. I guess he is even worse. If I was Merc I would go for verstappen. With the current situation top teams do not afford to have so-so second driver. But anyway, VER showed who is the boss in RBR. End of RIC era, sadly.

      1. Verstappen who almost made an identical mistake today behind the safety car ? I think you’re a bit harsh to call him a flop. He pushed Hamilton close in Australia and had good race pace today too. He was less than .2 behind in qualifying and he’s no doubt adjusting to the pressure of being expected to be on the podium each race. Overall I think he’s doing a solid job.

    6. It’s just his second GP in Mercedes, against Hamilton. Give him at least half season and then see if he deserves to be there.

    7. Saw something somewhere that said Alonso reported Bottas had damage when he passed. Can anyone confirm?

      1. Alonso was wondering why bottas was fighting him and asked if anything was wrong with bottas his car, like damage.

    8. I’m starting to have doubts about Bottas. But it’s early days. . After 5 races, we can properly evaluate him. The finns are just not stepping up unfortunately. I still don’t understand how Kimi still has a seat at Ferrari. There is so much talent out there for a fraction of the cost they can get to replace him.

    9. Kimi’s glory days are behind him and to be honest I’ve always felt he is a bit overrated.

    10. Mercedes say they value the constructors trophy the most….they need Bottas to be a good points scorer…eg behind Hamilton in every race…once Kimi gets his car handling and Red Bull get more power…they will have 2 teams chasing the constructors…..Early days yes, but will be surprised to see Bottas there next year, whatever he does

    11. BOT will be keen to correct this and I fully expect him to remind HAM of his presence. It seems to me like HAM sank his guard somewhat when what appeared to be a 0.5 sec gap appeared between him and BOT in initial testing in Barcelona. BOT has since settled in a treat and much quicker than HAM did from McLaren. I see Merc suffering slightly from the loss of ROS who, by all accounts, was exceptional in terms of engineering aptitude and had an appetite for the off-track technical aspects HAM has termed boring. This attitude on HAM’s part has led to his being a turn-up-and-drive sort of driver and I expect BOT is already his superior in terms of providing engineering-actionable feedback to the team.

      ROS realised incremental improvements in areas such as starts could provide an edge over a driver, in HAM, who looks to do as little as possible of a technical nature off the track. BOT will know that HAM’s previous team mates have all had this path to success open. It is because HAM will insist on the type of calls that cost him the victory in Melbourne that I think it’s VET’s WDC to lose should Ferrari and Merc remain within striking distance of each other’s performance all season. HAM would tend to hamper car development and compound things further by insisting on unwarranted pitstops while VET continuously improves in both departments. Someone should send HAM the memo: His edge in pure speed is no longer sufficient to pull in WDCs. Better yet, just post him photos of ROS basking in the glory of a smartly engineered WDC.

    12. spanish gp : bottas clearly steered to the left as he sees Kimi coming behind to purposely sabotage his race, and a spin during a race? what a stupid driver that don’t deserve a drive with a top team!

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