Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2018

Bottas: Vettel pass was “just a matter of time”

2018 British Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas says Sebastian Vettel’s race-winning pass on him in the British Grand Prix was inevitable because of how quickly the Mercedes drivers’ tyres were going off.

Bottas took the lead of the race by staying out on worn tyres when the Safety Car was deployed while Vettel pitted to take the lead. Bottas resisted Vettel’s attacks for several laps but eventually succumbed and fell to fourth place.

“I think it was just a matter of time,” said Bottas when asked if he had been surprised by Vettel’s pass. “Obviously it was disappointing at that point but then seeing lap after lap what happened what happened to me and how the grip was, nothing I could do.”

Bottas said he supported the team’s decision not to bring him into the pits at the time but in retrospect it was clear they should have pitted.

“I think without the Safety Car of course it’s only guessing,” he explained. “But at that point just before when it came it felt like our pace was quite strong compared to Ferrari. I was closing on Sebastian and we had an advantage at the end of the first stint. The second stint was going to be very long.

“We took the risk to stay out, to try and win the race, because on-track it’s always more difficult [to overtake] with a similar car. Honestly at that point when we stayed out if the team would have asked me if I wanted to try and go for the win or settle for second place, for sure I would go for the win.

“But now looking back for sure for the result it would have been better to stop. It’s a fact.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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  • 40 comments on “Bottas: Vettel pass was “just a matter of time””

    1. Sc helped Lewis while from what I was seeing on the live timings, hampered Valterri.

      1. @krichelle It helped Vettel you mean cause his tires where shot and flew in the pits twice to get new tires unlike Hamilton who only went inside once. So you better check your stuff before pointing anfinger at Hamilton.

        1. The plan for Ferrari was to go to the end on Mediums, just like Hamilton and Bottas did.
          The safety car helped the Ferrari’s and Verstappen, simply because they decided to pit.
          Something Mercedes could have done but they decided not to. In order to get track position.
          The only driver who couldn’t take advantage was Ricciardo, who pitted before the SC.

          The driver who took most advantage of the SC was Hamilton. He was 22sec behind Vettel, 20sec behind Bottas.
          He would never have ended second in this race without SC.

          You should check your stuff before saying stupid things to someone else.

          1. @dudebv
            I’m not sure 20sec is that much considering the pace advantage ham had in that race. You could see even closer to end of the race Ham on older and slower tires could almost keep up with Vettel. What do you think Vettel’s time would be if he stayed out, being chased by Bottas? Red Bull pitted Ric in anticipation for Kimi’s pit stop which makes me think they didn’t think Ferrari would last till the end.
            Of course overtaking on track would be harder for Ham, and we never know what would have happened but I wouldn’t be so sure to claim the SC benefited Ham the most.

            1. Raikkonen pitted early (lap 14) so he probably would have been caught but not Vettel nor Bottas.
              They pitted on lap 20-21. Hamilton pitted on lap 26 I think.
              No way Hamilton would have caught the leaders without SC. Tire age was 5 laps different.
              Because of the SC, Hamilton saved his tires for about 8 laps, so I’m not surprised he was almost as fast as Vettel in the end. Vettel was trying to pass Bottas for almost 10 laps on softs.

            2. Lol. Safety car benefited Ham most… Without he would be P5.

            3. TeselOfSkylimits
              9th July 2018, 22:57

              Hamilton before SC was about 9 seconds behind, gaining average of 0.5 seconds per lap to the leading 5. So it would take him 15-20 laps to melt down the deficit. Even then, he’d be stuck behind RBs, which would take quite a bit of work to pass (-0.5 per lap average is nowhere nearly enough to just DRS breeze past).
              IMHO, without SC, he’d end up between 6th and 4th. With safety car and SC pits, he got to 3rd essentially without any effort and the successful defended 3rd (even gained a place after Bottas fell down to 4th).

      2. Yeah without the two Safety cars Hamilton would have been way worse in the standings.

        1. When Kimi was out on new mediums, he was going as fast as Ham when he changed his. So fact is SCs benefited Hamilton and dropped Bottas from 2nd to 4th.

        2. Bottas was actually catching Vettel, since Mercedes are faster on mediums, so in a sense the SC helped Vettel to change to softs. But of course it helped Hamilton more, since he was able to jump two cars during it.

    2. Mr. Toto who ordered to Ocon to let Hamilton pass during Monaco GP, did not to Botas in this race after Vettel passed Botas. If you believe.

      1. @hamiledonu And now in English please..

        1. I think it is very simple to understand what i wrote. If not I can write in other languages especially for you. Do not hesitate if you need help.

          1. Yeah, that was pretty low from @noname.

    3. Tyre wear wasn’t very high and both Vettel and Bottas were nursing their second set of tyres after their first stops, so I think Bottas should have been able to hold his position. If only he defended a little harder on the 47th lap…

      1. Why were Bottas tires bad in the end then? With 2 safety cars?

        1. Bottas was racing Vettel hard for several laps.. Far beyond what tyres usually endure… And thus they fell off a cliff.

          Hamilton had same age tires and went to the end just fine.

          1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            9th July 2018, 14:55

            Hamilton had tyres 5 laps newer than Bottas. and he never had to do any really heavy defending like Bottas did. one reason why he will have had more pace right at the end. Basically in the number of last few laps his tyres were newer by.

    4. Bottas should had block the inside but he left the door wide open for Vettel.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        9th July 2018, 13:24

        I’m not sure if he shuld have done. He will have been able to tell that vettel was closer to him than he had been any other lap on the aproach to this corner. He had tried several risky moves and maybe didn’t want to come off worse by trying another. And defending Vettel any longer could well have resulted in his tyres wearing even more and Ricciardo getting past Bottas too. What mercedes could have done is pitted him during the first safety car and it will have been an almost certain Mercedes 2 – 3. Without the safty car, there was an extremely unlikely chance of a win, but a much bigger chance of slipping right back, which Bottas did. This option by Mercedes cost them a double podium IMO.

        1. Yup. Yet another Strategy fail. Track position was not worth much yesterday.

    5. To be honest I think Mercedes got it right this time. Ferrari’s pace on the softs was much better than Mercedes (the mediums seemed the other way around), so if they pitted during the SC, there was not really a possibility to fight for the win. They decided to go for track position and it almost paid off.

      Their only “mistake” is letting Hamilton through so fast. That left Bottas (who’s tyres were older) exposed to Raikkonen, and they lost the final position. They could have a 2-3 if they left Hamilton play defense for a few laps and switch them towards the end.

      Ferrari was wrong at Austria as well for not switching Raikkonen and Vettel. 3 more points will do nothing for the Iceman, but seeing how close the championship is, it could prove vital.

      1. Mercedes got totally lucky with the safety cars.
        Had there not been safety cars:
        1. Lewis would not have been second
        2. The would have to make 2 stops with no softs tires left.

        After Lewis bad start he never would have been second. Ferrari was much faster.

        1. I’m commenting based on the first safety car. If there wasn’t any, I am not sure if they would have pitted again or not.

      2. Not sure about that. Vettel did 33.0’s after the first round of stops on new mediums, same times as he was doing at the start of the first stint, i.e he was nursing, and by quite some margin. Could probably have gone more than a second quicker at that point. Given the tiny differences in pace between the cars, Bottas would have no way of passing him during the second stint, would have shot his tyres after some laps, which Vettel of course knew.

        Would have been interesting without the SC though. But I think Merc flatter themselves by saying they would have won and that they were the quickest. There is no way of telling, other than that the Ferrari was quickest when it needed to be, which was when opening up the gap in the first stint.

      3. I see you point regarding Vettel and Kimi in Austria that in such a tight season 3 points is a lot. However, Ferrari has had no qualms about switching drivers before.

        I personally think that they saw more benefit in not switching to lift the morale of Kimi and give him fighting spirit which paid off in this race. If Kimi hadn’t locked up he would have overtaken Lewis which is what Ferrari would need for the rest of season: that the rear gunner be able to fight the lead driver of the other team.

        Only time will show which decision would have been the right one.

        Interesting and valid point about Hamilton and Bottas. You are fully right there but I don’t think Hamilton would have accepted that. He was angry and he wanted to chase Vettel and see if he can win.

        1. Correct… There is more benefit having a stronger kimi than depress one… Happy kimi will force Mercedes to change strategies… Is going to be 2 strategies vs 2… Unlike 2015-2017 where most of the time was seb strategy vs Mercedes strategies.. cuz kimi was nowhere

        2. @ifelix I generally agree, but as the most experienced driver on the grid, Kimi knows that being 50+ points from the top, means that any championship chance lies in Vettel and Hamilton taking each over out at least twice. Besides it was between 2nd and 3rd, not much of a difference.

          Having said that, I was furious that he wasn’t allowed to win at Hungary last year, and I think that it really messed up with his morale, as you correctly said already.

    6. Seeing how quickly Bottas’ tyres faded in the end, I kind of agree that it was only a matter of time. Struggling with traction out of the Loop meant he would be even more exposed on the following laps. Then again, the benefit from the new tyres of Vettel’s car probably was diminishing as well, especially while running in the dirty air, so a few more laps and Bottas might have been able to hold positions. If and but.

    7. I think Bottas is not such a good tire whisperer. That cost him.

    8. When the Safety Car come out I was screaming at the TV for Bottas to pit. The reality is that, while track position is important, having the right tyre on compared to the cars you are racing is even more so. Holding track position gave Bottas the chance to get to into the lead and then try holding on, but changing tyres would have mean he had the tyres to try attack and the worst that would happen would have been a second place finish. The sensible decision was to pit, not doing so cost him a podium.

      1. It would be crazy to not pit at that moment in the race.
        I understand Mercedes didn’t pit Hamilton. If they did, he would have been 6th behind RIC. He might have gained 2 places.
        They took a huge gamble on Bottas. Track position with old tires vs 2 Ferrari’s and 2 Red Bull’s with new tires?
        He’s lucky he didn’t end 5th behind RIC.

        We saw the tire advantage in China.

    9. Surely Felipe Bottas realises that the team orchestrated it so that Hammy would be able to pass Bottas with ease.

      There was no chance that Bottas with old mediums was ever going to be able to keep Vettel on new softs behind him for 20 laps.

      1. I am no fan of either Hamilton nor Mercedes (esp. with their habit of emotional reaction after and sometimes even before a loss, be it by throwing the strategist under the bus, or throwing ludicrous accusations at their rivals), but I think you are going too far here.

        I think that Mercedes was ready to gamble to snatch the win or rather deprive Vettel and Ferrari from the win, even if it would not be with their No. 1 driver. Once Bottas was overtaken though it was clear they would switch the places to limit the point damage on Hamilton. I suppose at this point for Bottas getting a contract for next year is more important (this year he has little chance of winning championship anyway) and thus he is happy to play the second fiddle for Hamilton.

        1. …neither

    10. Also, I think it’s time that Ferrari starts issuing team orders to help Vettel because this season and last season have shown that Mercedes have no qualms issuing team orders or sabotaging Bottas with bad strategy in order to move Hamilton up the order.

      1. What are you on? Ferrari use team orders or Vettel preferring strategy calls all the time.

        The only thing you can blame Mercedes for is that they were trying to take the win. That would benefit both Bottas (taking the win), Mercedes (taking a win) and Hamilton (losing less points to Vettel). Of course it was a long shot, but wit these Pirelli tyres you never know.

        You have to be completely delusional to pretend that they planned this just so Hamilton could get past Bottas while in the process losing more points to Vettel than just letting Bottas take the win.

        If Mercedes actually issued team orders, they would simply tell Bottas to let Hamilton past. They did this in Hungary, but in the end Hamilton handed the place back.

        1. Ferrari are yet to tell Kimi to pull over for Vettel.

          Didn’t happen once last year and hasn’t happened this year.

          Hamilton benefited from team orders 5 times last year.

    11. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      9th July 2018, 18:09

      I’m feeling really bad for Bottas this season but I have to say that I would have preferred if he had fought harder on some occasions and gotten a collision. He needs to send a message to Seb (especially) that he has to think twice before trying an overtake because he may find himself 25 points behind Lewis suddenly…

      It’s almost like Bottas is the exact opposite of Rosberg. We all knew Rosberg would collide with Lewis if a win was on offer. Bottas just can’t find it in himself to do that.

      1. Just like Vettel and Raikkonen have no qualms about making contact with other cars. Twice in three races, plus Baku where he pulled a similar red mist induced stunt, but somehow missed the Mercedes cars as he slid off track.

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