Start, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Bottas says unexpected clutch “oscillation” caused poor start

2019 Spanish Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas says he lost the Spanish Grand Prix at the start of the race due to a clutch problem.

The Mercedes driver started from pole position but was immediately passed by team mate Lewis Hamilton when the race started. The pair went side-by-side into the first corner with Sebastian Vettel, Bottas pinned between his two rivals.

“It was pretty tight,” he said afterwards, “but I lost it at the start.

“There was some strange behaviour on the clutch. It was biting, releasing, biting, releasing which I’ve never felt before so I lost it there.”

Bottas described the problem to his team on his way back to the pits after the race. “We lost it at the start,” he said. “I had some clutch oscillation so we need to look at that.”

“We cannot have that kind of clutch behaviour in the race,” he added.

Bottas praised the team’s result after it scored its fifth consecutive one-two finish.

“As a team it’s incredible, a fifth one-two in a row is really good. I got some good points, every single point is going to count this year so that’s good for sure.

“But I’m just keen to find out why the start was so bad and why the issue happened.”

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Keith Collantine
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15 comments on “Bottas says unexpected clutch “oscillation” caused poor start”

  1. This isn’t the first or even the second time that he’s lost from the start into T1 starting from pole. The same happened in Austria last season as well as in Brazil in 2017.

    1. To be fair to him hes the only driver this season to convert pole into a lead at turn 1.

    2. This season with exception of Baku, Pole sitter has lost a place at start to 2nd place driver on grid. Also this is very wierd reason to lose the place at start just like the reason he gave in China.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        12th May 2019, 17:10

        I think the reason he gave in china sounded pretty reasonable. Wheelspin on a painted white line does not sound unusual. And I believe he said he knows how to avoid that happening again. This was a totally different explanation. Weather it did effect him or not, I’m not sure. But I think Bottas is pretty honest about things.

      2. I think it’s worth noting that in every race so far this year, whoever is 2nd on the grid has had a significantly better getaway than whoever is 1st (In Baku it didn’t result in a pass, but it was quite close). There are likely several factors contributing to this. I think there is some validity to the argument that the start finish line has slightly less grip. The proximity to the first grid slot wouldn’t help whoever is on pole as that car’s speed over the line would be lower than that of whoever is 2nd (slightly more downforce will produce a slight advantage in grip over that line). It could also have something to do with engine mapping, what gear you are in as you go over the line or how much grip the “dirty” side of the grid has. I imagine it’s a combination of all these factors, and probably some others.

  2. I was carefully watching all practice starts of Lewis, Valtteri, Sebastian and Charles from Friday morning.

    Ferrari were lightning fast, Lewis started (Friday) rather slow, but gradually improved and last yesterday’s and only today’s starts before formation lap were amazing. I can’t say the same for Bottas.

    Of course judging from the trackside is difficult, but I am not sure Valtteri had a capacity to do a better start.

  3. You could see Hamilton’s nose rise up noticeably before Bottas. I thought at first it was a jump start. He was just quicker on the trigger than Bottas.

  4. It’s amusing. Just yesterday, some people were using Bottas’ stellar pole lap to herald the end of Hamilton’s reign. Bottas is definitely good this year, but given the current state of tyres, a start can make or break a race. Let’s hope he nails his starts as well as he does his pole positions.

    1. Bottas will need to win a title before the talk of that can even reasonably be justified.

      Which he may have a chance this year if his form keeps up, but certainly nothing reign ending.

    2. It’s amusing. Just yesterday, some people were using Bottas’ stellar pole lap to herald the end of Hamilton’s reign.

      More than that: they mocked « Hamilton making excuses again » about his aborted Q2 lap. I wonder what they make of Bottas’ explanations: is it excuses or explanations?

      Anyway, after the start Hamilton posted fastest lap after fastest lap: in the end he was overall faster than Bottas today.

  5. his start wasn’t even that bad.
    he would even have kept the lead if hamilton were as polite as in baku.

    1. If not for Vettel’s reckless attempt on the outside, Bottas would possibly have kept the lead as he was still slightly ahead of Hamilton and would have the inside line for corner two. Vettel is an idiot.

  6. Maybe, but where was he with the safety car start…was his clutch playing up then too, or was Lewis just better?

    1. He was very good on the safety car restart, certainly not losing as much ground as others have done so not sure what you’re talking about.

  7. uhh, safety car starts are rolling. No clutch involved.

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