Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Bottas: “No pace difference” between me and Hamilton in race

2019 Spanish Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas says there was no difference between his race pace and team mate Lewis Hamilton’s during the Spanish Grand Prix.

The Mercedes drivers were separated by up to 10 seconds at one point during the race. But Bottas said the disadvantage of running in Hamilton’s slipstream masked his performance.

“Honestly from my feeling there was no pace difference at all today,” he said. “That’s my feeling.

“I know the difference when you’re at the front you can control the pace, manage the tyres completely in the way you want in the free air. At this type of track it makes such a difference. You feel it when you are behind, even four seconds away, you feel in the corners you are sliding more. It doesn’t need much sliding and your tyres are going to finish earlier.

“So I’m not worried at all about the race pace. I think it looks pretty identical and I really think the main thing was who ends up first after turns one and two.”

Bottas blamed a problem with his clutch for the slow getaway which allowed Hamilton to pass him at the start. He said it wasn’t as frustrating as his similar experience in China, where Hamilton took the lead off him as he lost traction crossing the start/finish line.

China “was a bit more my own fault” said Bottas. “I felt I could have done something better there.

“Here if I [did] it again I wouldn’t do anything different. We are still investigating, we can definitely see the vibration on the clutch, abnormal behaviour which cost me that few crucial metres on the way to turn one.

“So as a driver it’s annoying but it can happen and knowing this team we’re going to fix it and it won’t happen again. I’m not blaming any individual in the team. These things can, unfortunately, happen in motorsport. We’ll learn from it.”

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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...
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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22 comments on “Bottas: “No pace difference” between me and Hamilton in race”

  1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    12th May 2019, 22:11

    Even as a bottas fan, i’m not sure i believe this. But i do think he will still be able to beat Hamilton more than last year.

  2. My only response to that, in the words of James Hunt:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khA67-r5lSQ

  3. The biggest difference between Bottas and Hamilton since the beginning of 2018 has been, in fact, race pace. At the end of the first stint you could see Hamilton starting to push a bit more and quickly extending his lead to over ten seconds. He was in total control today. Bottas is quick over one lap on saturdays but that’s it. I can’t see him ever beating Hamilton over a full season.

    1. Bottas did just enough to stay ahead of third place driver, but could not bag the fastest lap. which says it all.
      Roll on the next race…..

      1. Well, Ajaxn, but Bottas was also told to let Hamilton have the lap and not try to improve on it by the team.

        1. Oh come on, at least be slightly less than completely dishonest.

          Both drivers were allowed one ‘quali lap’ after the restart, hamilton’s was better. I’m sure bottas did want another go and im sure if he had they’d have had to give hamilton another go etc etc all the while risking throwing away their 1-2.

          Literally shut up and sit down.

          1. He literally did shut up and sit down. At his computer, typing a comment….

        2. @bascb They were both allowed, but at some point they were both told to stop.

          Besides, Bottas already explained he had no chance anyway.

  4. Jeffrey Powell
    12th May 2019, 23:50

    So how fast do you have to go if the only opposition is your teammate and you are instructed not to cause an accident. But of course this is not the overriding issue that is the wear and tear on the very limited components so thrashing the car to prove how great you are is just plain stupid..The whole thing looks so stage managed its almost painful. I love to see Lewis win as a patriot , but there appears to be no pain, no heroics . I think I have outlived it.

  5. VSo Bottas has clutch problems he had never experienced before. Interesting..
    The real question isn’t whether someone screwed up but rather whether they screwed up on purpose.
    Nothing would surprise me with Wolff.
    Won’t surprise me if Bottas has more “unfortunate” issues.

    1. So every time someone experiences an issue they have not had before it is a conspiracy … dream on.

    2. Sorry if I consider the conspiracy theory to be “silly”.

    3. I think you are on to something here. The last thing Toto wants after his tenure at Mercedes is to be known as the boss that supplied the cars that delivered multiple WDCs to so many drivers. He would rather everyone said it was all down to Hamilton, and the only time someone else won a WDC was when Toto’s car let Hamilton down. Can’t work out yet why all the others that would necessarily be involved in this conspiracy would do so; or why global brands such as Mercedes, Petronas, etc. would risk their reputations. But I’m sure you’ve got the answers!

      1. They would do it for several reasons:
        Bottas isn’t marketable.
        They want Hamilton to better Schuey’s 7 WDC’s.
        They want to keep him at Mercedes.
        Put on your thinking cap and stifle your Hamilton bias and it’s obvious.
        I find it interesting Bottas mentioned after the race he is curious as to what Merc will find concerning his “sudden” clutch issue.

  6. So, that’s mostly the same sort of thing Hamilton said after Melbourne (modulo broken floor there), I guess there’s some truth to it.

    1. Except Ham overtook him in Bahrain and was on his gearbox the entire race in Baku. If he had the pace, why not mount a challenge and try force Ham to make an error.

      I believe he had the same pace, not just consistently enough to keep up

      1. He’s talking about M3lbourne, you are talking about Bahrain and Baku.
        Did you even read what he wrote?

      2. Exactly ChrisVB.

        Both Hamilton (in Melbourne) and Bottas (Barcelona) knew full well that with the same speed in the car there was no realistic chance of passing their teammates so they just concentrated on doing their race, not going too hard on the car and securing that second spot as @bosyber mentions.

      3. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        13th May 2019, 9:15

        on his gearbox the entire race? Bottas pretty quickly built up nearly a 3 second lead. I admit Hamilton will have had the pace, but he was only really close to Bottas near the end.

  7. jon hadleigh
    13th May 2019, 6:36

    IMHO: I think the photo above showing empty stands sums up the current F1 status?
    Should it carry on like this and Schumacher’s 7 titles is surpassed then all that will be achieved is proving kids who have the better johnny seven win the day.
    There needs to be one engine provider, one tyre provider and get rid of all these gizmo’s. A fuel tank that gives them a 20 lap range, every carbon fibre safety feature you can think of and job done lets sort out the “real” men from the kiddy-winks please mr brawn.

    1. And only one driver of course :)

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