Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2017

No plan to hold up Vettel for Hamilton, says Bottas

2017 Austrian Grand Prix pre-race analysis

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During the final laps of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton suggested to Mercedes they could use Valtteri Bottas to help him catch up to Sebastian Vettel.

Bottas was busy getting stuck into Lance Stroll, however, so it didn’t happen. And nor, it seems, will Mercedes use such tactics this weekend.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Red Bull Ring, 2017
Austrian Grand Prix qualifying in pictures
Asked after qualifying whether he might help back Vettel into Hamilton, Bottas said that from “what I’ve seen on the pre-race strategy notes, that kind of plan is not on those notes”.

“It makes no sense for Valtteri to slow down,” added Hamilton. “That will not be the case. It makes sense for him to push as hard as he can to win the race.”

Hamilton’s five-place grid penalty means he will start from eighth on the grid. He needs a repeat of his superb lap one at this track three years ago, when he leapt from ninth to fourth, to ensure he is in content for a podium finish or better.

Starting on the harder super-soft compound tyres will make that more difficult as the other drivers in the top ten will be on ultra-softs which should come up to temperature more quickly. The good news for Hamilton is this will allow him to run what Pirelli believes is the quickest available strategy.

According to F1’s official tyre supplier the fastest route to the end of the race would be one stint on super-softs and one on softs. This they believe will be marginally quicker than the ultra-soft/soft route which the rest of the top ten are most likely to use.

A key determining factor will be how long the ultra-soft runners stay out for. Hamilton will be looking to run to around lap 26, some eight laps later than the others. But if the ultra-softs hold up better than expected – and they often do – Hamilton’s runners may be able to stretch that first stint long enough to negate his advantage, especially if he gets stuck in traffic. And if the ultra-softs do go that far, they can run the super-softs to the end.

“I don’t think it’s going to make a big difference if I’m really honest,” said Hamilton when asked if starting on the super-soft might give him an advantage. “It’s a slower tyre so, I think in the first stint, it’s just about length.”

Of course the strategy questions become simpler for Hamilton if he’s able to deploy the Mercedes grunt to make up positions. Note the times in sector one, the prime spot for overtaking: Mercedes are first and second, and the next-quickest car has a Mercedes power unit.

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Qualifying times in full

Driver Car Q1

Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1’05.760 1’04.316 (-1.444) 1’04.251 (-0.065)
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1’05.585 1’04.772 (-0.813) 1’04.293 (-0.479)
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’05.064 1’04.800 (-0.264) 1’04.424 (-0.376)
4 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1’05.148 1’05.004 (-0.144) 1’04.779 (-0.225)
5 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1’05.854 1’05.161 (-0.693) 1’04.896 (-0.265)
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull 1’05.779 1’04.948 (-0.831) 1’04.983 (+0.035)
7 Romain Grosjean Haas 1’05.902 1’05.319 (-0.583) 1’05.480 (+0.161)
8 Sergio Perez Force India 1’05.975 1’05.435 (-0.540) 1’05.605 (+0.170)
9 Esteban Ocon Force India 1’06.033 1’05.550 (-0.483) 1’05.674 (+0.124)
10 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso 1’05.675 1’05.544 (-0.131) 1’05.726 (+0.182)
11 Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1’06.174 1’05.597 (-0.577)
12 Fernando Alonso McLaren 1’06.158 1’05.602 (-0.556)
13 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 1’06.316 1’05.741 (-0.575)
14 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1’05.990 1’05.884 (-0.106)
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1’06.143
16 Jolyon Palmer Renault 1’06.345
17 Felipe Massa Williams 1’06.534
18 Lance Stroll Williams 1’06.608
19 Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1’06.857
20 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 1’07.011

Sector times

Driver Sector 1 Sector 2 Sector 3
Valtteri Bottas 16.350 (1) 28.314 (2) 19.394 (2)
Sebastian Vettel 16.582 (5) 28.229 (1) 19.482 (3)
Lewis Hamilton 16.358 (2) 28.555 (5) 19.356 (1)
Kimi Raikkonen 16.540 (4) 28.459 (3) 19.728 (7)
Daniel Ricciardo 16.622 (8) 28.682 (6) 19.521 (4)
Max Verstappen 16.617 (7) 28.551 (4) 19.564 (5)
Romain Grosjean 16.727 (13) 28.951 (13) 19.585 (6)
Sergio Perez 16.503 (3) 28.878 (10) 19.953 (11)
Esteban Ocon 16.587 (6) 28.927 (12) 20.027 (12)
Carlos Sainz Jnr 16.693 (10) 28.723 (7) 20.033 (14)
Nico Hulkenberg 16.677 (9) 28.904 (11) 19.945 (9)
Fernando Alonso 16.828 (16) 28.773 (8) 19.889 (8)
Stoffel Vandoorne 16.894 (18) 28.845 (9) 19.946 (10)
Daniil Kvyat 16.702 (11) 29.014 (14) 20.049 (15)
Kevin Magnussen 16.857 (17) 29.141 (16) 20.032 (13)
Jolyon Palmer 16.777 (15) 29.093 (15) 20.310 (18)
Felipe Massa 16.771 (14) 29.311 (18) 20.278 (16)
Lance Stroll 16.706 (12) 29.228 (17) 20.403 (19)
Marcus Ericsson 16.961 (19) 29.429 (20) 20.303 (17)
Pascal Wehrlein 17.063 (20) 29.412 (19) 20.500 (20)

Speed trap

Pos Driver Car Engine Speed (kph/mph) Gap
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes Mercedes 328.1 (203.9)
2 Esteban Ocon Force India Mercedes 327.5 (203.5) -0.6
3 Felipe Massa Williams Mercedes 326.9 (203.1) -1.2
4 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso Renault 326.8 (203.1) -1.3
5 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Mercedes 326.7 (203.0) -1.4
6 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari Ferrari 325.8 (202.4) -2.3
7 Lance Stroll Williams Mercedes 325.4 (202.2) -2.7
8 Sergio Perez Force India Mercedes 325.2 (202.1) -2.9
9 Nico Hulkenberg Renault Renault 323.8 (201.2) -4.3
10 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari Ferrari 322.7 (200.5) -5.4
11 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull TAG Heuer 322.6 (200.5) -5.5
12 Jolyon Palmer Renault Renault 322.3 (200.3) -5.8
13 Romain Grosjean Haas Ferrari 322.0 (200.1) -6.1
14 Kevin Magnussen Haas Ferrari 321.9 (200.0) -6.2
15 Max Verstappen Red Bull TAG Heuer 321.7 (199.9) -6.4
16 Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso Renault 321.3 (199.6) -6.8
17 Marcus Ericsson Sauber Ferrari 318.3 (197.8) -9.8
18 Pascal Wehrlein Sauber Ferrari 316.6 (196.7) -11.5
19 Fernando Alonso McLaren Honda 316.0 (196.4) -12.1
20 Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren Honda 315.1 (195.8) -13.0

Drivers remaining tyres

Driver Team Soft Super-soft Ultra-soft
New Used New Used New Used
Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1 0 0 2 1 2
Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 1 0 1 1 0 3
Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1 0 1 0 0 4
Max Verstappen Red Bull 1 0 1 0 0 4
Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1 0 1 1 0 3
Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 0 1 1 1 0 3
Sergio Perez Force India 1 0 1 0 0 4
Esteban Ocon Force India 1 0 1 0 0 4
Felipe Massa Williams 1 0 1 0 3 2
Lance Stroll Williams 1 0 1 0 3 2
Fernando Alonso McLaren 1 0 1 0 1 4
Stoffel Vandoorne McLaren 0 1 1 0 1 4
Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1 0 1 0 0 4
Carlos Sainz Jnr Toro Rosso 1 0 1 0 1 4
Romain Grosjean Haas 0 1 1 0 0 4
Kevin Magnussen Haas 0 1 1 0 4 1
Nico Hulkenberg Renault 1 0 1 0 1 4
Jolyon Palmer Renault 1 0 1 0 3 2
Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1 0 1 0 2 3
Pascal Wehrlein Sauber 1 0 1 0 3 2

Over to you

Will Bottas claim his second win? Can Hamilton limit the damage to Vettel in the championship? And how will the Red Bull pair get on at their home race?

Share your views on the Austrian Grand Prix in the comments.

2017 Austrian Grand Prix

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Author information

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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16 comments on “No plan to hold up Vettel for Hamilton, says Bottas”

  1. They dont need it, vettel will win ahead of bottas :)

  2. Glad to hear this. It was pathetic of Hamilton to ask for it in Baku.

  3. From the report here, it doesn’t look like he denied it though. He could have just said “no, I am going for the win!”.

    1. True! Would be stupid if Mercedes. If Ferarros are 2nd and 3rd after the first corner and Bottas tries to back up the pack, they could split strategies by giving say Raikonnen the undercut and Vettel over it or vice versa

  4. All depends on the weather… ;)

    1. And any safety car deployment

  5. Racerdude7730
    9th July 2017, 3:30

    Of course they won’t say that out loud. That would be stupid but of course it’s the real plan. The only way it’s not the plan is if Lewis gets to far behind…… honestly it’s prob not the plan but someone had talked about it in the team

  6. The best way that valterri can contribute to Hamiltons wdc chase is by denying Vettel a win. Holding up Vettel is just too much of a risk. Hamilton will have to work his way up the field and battle Sev himself.

    1. A win today from Valtteri makes it a 3-way battle. He has already retired once and it’s likely HAM and VET will have DNF too at some point. And when that happens, Bottas will be very close.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        9th July 2017, 9:06

        Yes, I don’t like the way all the media is stating it is a 2 way fight to the title with Vettel and Hamilton. Lets remember Bottas has had a retirement and neither of these 2 have and drivers don’t usually have none in a season due to problems. If Bottas keeps performing well and also improves a little and Vettel and Hamilton have some bad luck, there is certainly potential for Bottas to be in the fight for the championship.

        1. Sundar Srinivas Harish
          9th July 2017, 9:57

          Hamilton has already had a spot of bad luck, Vettel has already done something stupid and Ferrari have already run a bad strategy. Bottas should capitalize on this some more and avoid doing what he did in China in case of rain. And I hope Merc gets the tire pressure right this time! XD

      2. petebaldwin (@)
        9th July 2017, 11:48

        @huhhii – Totally agree. Same as how after Monaco, Mercedes suddenly had a weak car and Hamilton said it would be “very difficult to win the Championship” from that far behind.

        We’re not even half way yet! Let’s see how the next 5 or 6 races play out before writing people off.

  7. Dan Rooke (@geekzilla9000)
    9th July 2017, 9:45

    I agree with @todfod. Bottas needs to focus on the win, as a racer that’s what he should be doing, and (currently) denying Vettel the win does Lewis more help than trying to back Vettel up which just risks giving him a gift-wrapped overtake.

  8. Of course he won’t. There’s no need to hold up someone you’ve eliminated in the first or second corner.

  9. petebaldwin (@)
    9th July 2017, 11:45

    Well one thing is for certain, if that is their plan, they won’t admit to it before the race starts!

Comments are closed.