Start, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Bottas unsure of reason for “bad start”

2020 Spanish Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Valtteri Bottas says he isn’t sure what caused the poor start which ended his chances of challenging his team mate for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Lewis Hamilton extended his points lead over Bottas, who shared the front row with him today but lost two places at the start. Bottas said he couldn’t explain why he got away more slowly than Hamilton.

“I don’t really know if there’s much difference between left and right [sides of the grid],” he said. “I don’t know the facts, but all I know I had a bad start, at least compared to Lewis.”

While Bottas got away slowly from the right-hand side of the grid he was passed by Max Verstappen and Lance Stroll who started from the left-hand side.

“When you’re at the front the effect is even worse because obviously the cars behind get a tow out of you. So first I tried to move to the left to get a tow from Lewis, but then Max was already there. And then I tried to go to the right to cover the inside, but then one of the Racing Points was already there.

“So then I had cars on the outside and one on the inside that was ahead of me into turn one. So I was a bit sandwiched.”

The Racing Point was “pretty good” on the straight, said Bottas in response to a question from RaceFans. “So I was not really surprised that with a tow they could get inside of me. In the race pace, I think it only took two laps to get through.”

While Bottas was able to reclaim one place from Stroll, he couldn’t overhaul Verstappen for second.

“Everyone knows on this track how tricky it is when you lose two places at the start,” he said. “Of course we tried everything we could, the pace was strong. I think the tyres were holding on a bit better than expected.

“We tried something different at the end for me, even made an extra stop at the end for the fastest lap, which worked. But for me personally, of course, really, really disappointing today.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2020 F1 season

Browse all 2020 F1 season articles

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...
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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

21 comments on “Bottas unsure of reason for “bad start””

  1. Perez behind Bottas had also a pretty bad start, so I believe it’s because the even numbers start on the dirty side of the track. Both final and first corners are to the right so nobody drives on the right side of the pit straight.

    1. Yeah, and Norris also lost spots at the start too, I agree with that this is an explanation that would fit @lubhz

    2. @lubhz same electronics.

  2. I don’t think the start itself was all that bad, though not as good as Lewis’ as he pointed out. Part of the problem was that he didn’t get any slipstream, while both Verstappen and Stroll did.

    Interestingly, I think Hamilton could have secured a 1-2 for the team by drifting to the right and giving Bottas the tow instead of Verstappen, which should have given him enough speed to out-drag both Max and Lance. I understand why he wouldn’t, since he was more focused on ensuring he wasn’t challenged into turn 1, and staying on the outside to get the best braking and momentum into the corner to start building a gap. But it reminds me of Leclerc and Vettel in Russia last year and their team tactics – which worked out ‘perfectly’ apart from the driver management issues.

    1. Perhaps your a wingman 🤔

    2. @keithedin as others have noted, it looks like it was a more common theme amongst drivers starting on the right hand side of the grid to struggle, and it did look as if, out of those near the front, Bottas was just fractionally slower getting off the line.

      Whether or not he got a slipstream might have made a little bit of a difference, but it looked more like the very initial phase of acceleration was just fractionally slower than those around him, where a slipstream effect would have been more limited.

      I don’t think he did anything necessarily wrong, and similarly having Hamilton give Bottas a slipstream might not necessarily work either given that, in trying to give a slipstream to Bottas, Stroll could potentially have moved into Hamilton’s slipstream instead – so it could equally have backfired and helped out the drivers attacking Bottas instead.

  3. Somewhat far-fetched idea, but why didn’t Lewis help Bottas with a tow at the start? Just move a few metres to the right when he noticed that it was Verstappen behind him, and that might have ensured a Mercedes 1-2.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      16th August 2020, 19:34

      How would Hamilton know that Bottas would end up losing his position. His focus will be doing everything he can to make sure he stays ahead rather than giving slipstream to Bottas.

    2. @kaiie I think you can get a bit too cute here and get it wrong completely if you aren’t careful. Ferrari did this in Russia last year but it worked too well giving Vettel the lead and then he refused to give it back even though that was what was agreed pre-race.

      If Bottas had got past Hamilton with help from him, I am not certain that Bottas would have given the place back since both drivers are still in contention for the championship. Then you would have had a pit stop ‘malfunction’ to get things back. Then the forums on this site become very ugly very quickly! 😜

  4. Poor Valterri, never sure about things. This week he is unsure of his poor start (his own doing btw), last week he was unsure why he got an inferior strategy to Hamilton’s. Don’t ask question buddy, you lucky that you have such a great car beneath you. 2-3 race wins per year, new one year contracts confirmed because of being a good subordinate. Cool life.

    1. Yeah he just needs to understand that he is the number 2 driver and then it will Al become clearer for him.

      Another example today of him not being championship material was when he just accepted the teams order of soft tyre. Lewis didn’t, he questioned it and then went to walk the race on mediums. That is why he’ll beat Bottas this year and next….

      1. Hamilton beating Bottas is like Taxes and Death, all of the mentioned being inevitable. The team puts him on questionable strategies, he doesn’t ask why. Perfect wingman mentality. Every year, getting 2-3 or maybe 4 wins is the best he can hope for. Making the best out of a dominant Mercedes. Finish with a 16-17 win career if he stays for a few more seasons. Good career overall. No chances for the championship though.

      2. Ivan Vinitskyy
        17th August 2020, 10:40

        Why was Bottas wrong to listen to his team and accept soft tyre? On lap 64 both Mercs did fast laps, Bottas did it a tenth faster than Lewis suggesting the soft was the faster tyre. What bothered me most is he had the tyre to push but he never got close to Verstappen. With that pace he should have been on Verstappen in 3 laps. Be never tried to pass, never even got close to DRS range to try undercut with 2 stop race. It looked so hopeless, like he’s happy to come third.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          17th August 2020, 14:04

          What I think most seemed to miss is that on the live world broadcast (and sky mentioned this too) you could see Bottas was in a lot of traffic in a lot of the last 10 laps. Once he cleared this was when he set the really fast times. If he’s had the speed earlier before his 2nd stop, he would have cleared this sooner. But the reason for being fast at the end and not catching sooner was heavily traffic related.

  5. It’s pretty simple; he should have moved left immediately, not care about the pink car, block VER and get the tow…

    1. Exactly… from the line he should put his car pointing towards ready to cover. if you look at Vettel at last years mexico’s GP he was prepared to squeeze Lewis off the circuit.

  6. Just being wicked.
    But for Bottas to uncover this great mystery, he needs to watch the replay of the start and observe closely the person driving the car, he then will know the reason.

  7. It actually look like a common theme for all front starters on the right hand side. Not only Bottas, but also Perez and Norris lose places after the start.

    Only Albon managed to hold his position (actually he gained one, but lost it when he almost crashed into Bottas). If you look at the start, Albon immediately moves to the left. So Albon fixes the issue by quickly moving into the faster starting lane!

    1. Lewis started on the right last season he beat Bottas to turn one, why? he is too eager to take off, most times have a wheel spin, the same happened in China as well.

  8. “I don’t really know if there’s much difference between left and right [sides of the grid]” Very surprising comment when this is common knowledge here, even among fans. One would think a different approach or launch map would be selected to counter for the slightly less grip. There was a time (early last season I believe) Mercedes’ starts were bad when there were too much grip – disadvantaging the pole sitter – requiring a remapping of the controls. Yet here Bottas is not even aware what grip levels to expect at the all-important start. I guess an insight into why Bottas is not better than he is. Details not important.

    1. @balue True, you’d assume drivers factor something like this in.

      Perhaps it’s not an issue to the same degree everywhere though, but in a sport where everything is modelled by computers you’d think this difference in grip level would be one of the parameters included.

Comments are closed.