Monaco setback will ‘annoy the hell out of Bottas’ – Wolff

2019 Monaco Grand Prix

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says Valtteri Bottas will come back “stronger” following his setback in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Bottas lost pole position to Lewis Hamilton on the final run of Q3. He then fell to third place in the race – the first time a Mercedes has been beaten by another car all season – after he was hit by Max Verstappen in the pits. While Verstappen was given a five-second penalty, a puncture forced Bottas to make an extra pit stop which dropped him behind Sebastian Vettel.

Wolff said the contact between Verstappen and Bottas “ruined both races”.

“Max lost a position because of the penalty and the manoeuvre and Valtteri lost a second place, three points more that are lost, and Mercedes lost a one-two.

“From the team’s point we are super-happy with a one and three and from Valtteri’s point he will be gutted because he had the pace the weekend, he could have been on pole in terms of raw speed and today P2 was the minimum I think and that P2 was taken away from him.”

Following his win-less 2018 campaign, Bottas has enjoyed a more competitive start to this season. Wolff predicted he will come back “stronger” again after his frustrating weekend in Monaco.

“I think he has shown huge resilience and determination in these last races. The speed was mind-boggling [in qualifying] and I have no doubt it’s going to annoy the hell out of him and he’s going to come back very strong in Montreal.”

Bottas admitted he thought the contact with Verstappen would have more serious consequences for his race.

“I thought that when I got the puncture and had to stop again that I was going to be at the back of the grid,” he said. “But luckily I only lost a couple of places.

“So [it as] unlucky but lucky at the same time. It could have been a lot worse. Still important points, obviously disappointing going backwards from where you start from – sometimes it goes like this.”

Verstappen’s five-second penalty was all the stewards could realistically do in response to the collision, Bottas said.

“It’s a tricky one because there would be no way I could ever gain back the position so I lost. I gained, at least, Max’s position with his penalty. But [for] example the position I lost to Sebastian, there’s no way I ever gain it back. So I think he got his penalty and it’s OK.”

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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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36 comments on “Monaco setback will ‘annoy the hell out of Bottas’ – Wolff”

  1. Max didn’t lose a position. Vettel was right on Bottas’ tail so he would’ve been 4th if they had waited. So only Bottas lost something here.

    1. Max lost two positions as a result of the penalty.

      1. And that is my problem with Max: he is doing bold things but reaping very little gains, while ruining his and others races.

        1. Max lacks intelligence that the Professor and Alonso had. In F1 speed is nothing without knowledge when to push and when to hangback and score points.

        2. JR Love (@dermechaniker)
          28th May 2019, 15:49

          Max being given the green light to leave the box is not, in any way, his fault.

          You’re are aware that the driver is completely reliant on his team releasing him safely? Monaco is an especially difficult pit lane due to space constraints dictated by the nature of holding a race in the midst of the crowded principality.

          1. The unsafe release clearly isn’t Max’s fault but hitting Bottas in the pit lane is. So technically there were two issues. Max was lucky and it’s something that the FiA has had a hand in for some time now. It’s going to come back to haunt him some day.

      2. Had his team not released him unsafe he was coming out behind Vettel so imo he landed where he would have without the unsafe release.

        1. This is simply not true. There would have been no issue with him coming out at the same time as Vettel. That’s not “unsafe”. It’s happen plenty times that two cars were released at the same time and they simply drove side by side through the pit lane.

          The “unsafe” part is that he hit Bottas.

          1. “The “unsafe” part is that he hit Bottas.” – That’s also not true.

      3. “Max lost two positions as a result of the penalty” which was issued bc of max barged into Valtteri.

        The RB-Honda deserved a 2nd place in this race, but the most overrated driver on the grid lost them valuable places, a podium and points, again.

  2. Well to be fair, had Bottas not held the bunch up coming into the pits, he would have exited fourth, because he had to wait for Hamilton to pit. Second, I am of the opinion that Verstappen touching him was accidental so Bottas could have given Verstappen more room to avoid a puncture. Of course Bottas had the full right to stay put, he could have known Verstappen wasn’t able to see him. So it’s a setback indeed, but a setback that Mercedes and Bottas at least had some part in.

    1. @matthijs To add: Though I feel that a penalty for Verstappen for an unsafe release was justified.

      1. @trublu, OOliver, Martin, OK I take my comment back. I was under the impression that Bottas didn’t move an inch but I should have double checked the replay. He did try to avoid the contact with Verstappen. My bad.

    2. Oh please! Neither Merc nor Valtieri contributed to the incident, only Red Bull and Max. [I’ll leave the matter of apportioning the blame (between Max and Red Bull) to others.]

      1. Yes, Red Bull was fully to blame for the unsafe release and the contact (and Verstappen if you will). Therefore the penalty was justified. I am just arguing that if Buttas gave just a few inches of space to another driver that clearly didn’t see him, he would not have ended up with a puncture.

        1. How exactly was Bottas supposed to know that Max wouldn’t see him? Is Bottas superhuman or does he have a crystal ball!? Bottas did give all the space he could have. Any more and he’d done himself major harm because he was already rubbing the wall on his right side with Max hitting him on his left.

          There’s no rule against a driver holding up others BEFORE getting to the pits.

          1. “How exactly was Bottas supposed to know that Max wouldn’t see him?”
            It’s Monaco, so extremely thight and crowded, and they all complain about the rear view mirrors, so Bottas could have known.
            All he had to do was lift for less than half a second (there was no way he would have left the pit in front of Verstappen) and he would have finished second.
            Stupid move by Bottas, he could have easily avoided that puncture.
            And penalties for driving to slow in the pit lane entry:
            https://www.racefans.net/2017/04/16/hamilton-given-penalty-points-slow-speed-pits/

          2. @Oconomo, Bottas held the cars up behind him BEFORE the pit lane. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The “example” you point to is of an infraction IN the pit lane. Bottas was within his rights to drive slow in the entrance, and it also wouldn’t have been an infraction if Max tried overtaking there too.

        2. Where was Bottas to find the space. The only space available on that pit lane was on the side of Verstappen.
          The moment their wheels locked, there was nothing more Bottas could have done, the outcome was all in Verstappen’s hands.

        3. @matthijs Bottas was up against the wall! This was 100% Verstappen’s fault.

          1. @f1osaurus Yes, after seeing the replay I agree that there was not much Bottas could have done.

    3. “so Bottas could have given Verstappen more room to avoid a puncture”

      Verstappen drove him into the wall, there was no more room to give.

      “Mercedes and Bottas at least had some part in”

      Nope it was 100% Red Bull and Verstappen

      1. @Martin
        Bottas could see Verstappen clearly, backing off for half a second would have resulted in him being second because the penalty for an unsafe release would have been given anyway. Stupid move by Red Bull, triggered by Mercedes’ silly double stacking (Bottas should have gotten a penalty for driving to slow), stupid reaction by Bottas. He, and Mercedes (and Red Bull) got what they deserved.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          28th May 2019, 13:57

          you seem to be ignoring that the penalty was not for an unsafe release, but for verstappen hitting Bottas. If they blame Verstappen for this, Bottas should’t have done any different. Verstappen had driven alongside bottas ithout contacting for a fe seconds and despite Bottas going right against the wall, verstappen still hit him. Only Verstappen to blame for the contact – the reason for the penalty and penalty points.

          1. JR Love (@dermechaniker)
            28th May 2019, 15:54

            I believe your assessment is incorrect:

            Quote borrowed from a leading publication:

            “The stewards deemed Verstappen breached Article 28.13a of the sporting regulations, which states cars “must not be released from a garage or pit stop position in way that could endanger pit lane personnel or another driver”.

            Unlike Article 28.13d, which explicitly refers to a car “deemed to have been released in an unsafe condition” and demands a 10-second stop-go penalty, the rule Verstappen was determined to have breached does not carry a specific penalty.”

          2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            28th May 2019, 18:00

            well I’m basing is on this article:
            https://www.racefans.net/2019/05/26/verstappen-given-penalty-points-for-failing-to-avoid-contact/

            quoted from this page:

            “The Red Bull driver was given a five-second time penalty for the incident, which was described as an “unsafe release”. However the stewards made it clear Verstappen’s contact with Bottas was the reason for the penalty.”

            it is maybe a bit difficult to tell from the wording, but it looks like the penalty points were certainly for hitting Bottas and also from what is said here, the time penalty is clearly not just related to the unsafe release either. It was als down to Verstappen’s own actions. So from what I’m basing it on, I don’t think I’m incorrect.

          3. @dermechaniker
            I believe your assessment is incorrect.
            It was deemed “an unsafe release from a pit stop and gaining a sporting advantage and penalized the car 5 seconds.” This was (part of) the official statement.

            Furthermore, I believe they didn’t give the, according to their own rules, correct penalty as the regs clearly state that if such an offence has been committed, the penalty is a 10s stop-and-go.
            And that’s not all: “An additional penalty will be imposed on any driver who, in the opinion of the stewards,
            continues to drive a car knowing it to have been released in an unsafe condition.”

            I must say, all seems to be a bit excessive, but this is what their own rules state.

  3. “I thought that when I got the puncture and had to stop again that I was going to be at the back of the grid,” he said.

    I thought the same to be honest and am not quite sure how he emerged having only lost 2 positions in a bunched up safety car queue. Must have been an outrageous pitstop by Mercedes, I don’t think we got to see it on TV. I might be mistaken.

    1. IIRC, the safety car took time to collect the leader, and that occurred quite some time after Hamilton’s pit stop (at the hairpin before the tunnel). It is probable that due to the rest of the field also pitting, he got lucky in making it back out in a timely manner.

      1. @phylyp ah yeh fair, thinking about it was pretty much at a complete standstill waiting just after the hairpin so it was a lap and a bit before collecting the field.

  4. At least Mercedes are finally calling it as it is: 1-3 result is a setback…instead of Ferrari are the team to beat.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      28th May 2019, 18:05

      But they only got a 1 – 2 in Bahrian because of Leclerc’s issues. Also, this race it was quite clear that without Leclerc bringing out a safety car, judging by the pace of Mercedes in he first stint, they will have had a 1 – 2 here. Them being this quick in Monaco compared to the last few years only makes it look like we will be getting yet more 1 – 2 finishes in a way.

  5. I haven’t seen it being mensioned anywhere, but Bottas first stop saw him fitted with Medium tyres (same as Hamilton).. So I think he should be lucky he had to change them for the hard ones..

    1. joe pineapples
      28th May 2019, 14:39

      I didn’t notice that. Thanks for the info.

      1. In his case it was a bit lucky. Had it been the hards they probably would have fitted the mediums following the puncture and that would have been double whammy

  6. I love Bottas 2.0 ….

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