Part of Vettel's Ferrari lodged into Bottas's bargeboard

Bottas says he couldn’t avoid hitting debris which damaged floor

2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas said he was not able to avoid hitting the debris which damaged the floor of his Mercedes during the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

Bottas had taken the early lead from pole position but collected debris at Tosa which had been left by a collision between Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari and Kevin Magnussen’s Haas.

Mercedes informed Bottas he had suffered “significant” damage to the floor of his car during the race. Bottas says he saw the debris but only when it was too late for him to take avoiding action.

“Yeah, I think that [debris] made quite a big impact today,” says Bottas.

“The start was good – that was one of the main things to get right today. On lap two suddenly out of turn seven [Tosa], there was debris. I didn’t have time to avoid it.

“I saw it, so I aimed in the middle of the car, so at least I wouldn’t run over it with the tyres but obviously it caused me some damage or something which made the car quite quickly tricky to drive.”

Bottas said the combination of damage and debris cost him “50 points of downforce”.

Having lost the lead of the race to team mate Lewis Hamilton after the championship leader had pitted under a Virtual Safety Car period, Bottas was passed by Max Verstappen for second place after he had made a series of errors into Rivazza.

“I was really pushing hard to try and avoid Max getting through,” Bottas says.

“I had to push over all of my limits and that led to mistakes. So, unlucky.”

Bottas finished second after Verstappen retired with a right-rear tyre failure in the later laps of the race.

Image: Mercedes via Twitter

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2020 Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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50 comments on “Bottas says he couldn’t avoid hitting debris which damaged floor”

  1. That’s the difference between Lewis and most other Drivers.

    Hoping to add one more star sooooooon……hopefully.

    1. What is the difference ?

      1. Don’t expect any sensible answer. This person is simply a wind up merchant

      2. Hi Bottas….

  2. Bottas really can’t catch a break. He has the hardest job in F1 without luck on his side.

    1. I do wonder whether they couldn’t have taken a few extra seconds to try and pull that out from under the car. But then, maybe they did not yet find exactly how much time it was costing Bottas, or it was just not possible to reach it.

      1. It looks like it was in a slightly awkward place to reach it, and the team seems to have gambled that it was better to try to hold track position over Max instead than take the extra time to remove it.

        You can understand the logic, though in the end it looks like it was having a bigger impact than they first thought.

    2. Whatever you may think of Bottas, under trying circumstance he still managed to keep Verstappen behind him. This was key to Hamilton’s win.

      Had the car not been damaged, then both Bottas and Max would have driven faster and that might have been enough to keep Hamilton in third. Bottas was slower, yet still good enough to keep Max behind him for most of the race. Towards the end, Max’s damaged tyre would have been due to his efforts to get past Bottas, eg driving off the racing line.

    3. Own team against him putting his teammate on a contra strategy to jump him. When roles are reversed Bottas has to go on the same strategy as Hamilton.

      1. Yeah, Bottas has asked a few times to go opposite of Hamilton but the team has overruled him.

        1. Once again, there was no point going on the soft in Portugal and Mercedes knew how bad a decision that would have been – quite rightly.

        2. Its because Bottas tires was never way better than Hamilton therefore he can dream of having an opposite strategy because he is never that good unlike Lewis

      2. Thats why you will always have no brains. Bottas tires were never that good to try and go long like lewis today. If bottas managed that in Mugello then the team no doubt would allow Bottas to go long. But Bottas was dropping badly and therefore forced to pit. So quit your silly excuses

  3. Bottas and Toto should be replaced at Mercedes.

    1. Lol bottas maybe but toto is amazing

    2. He took pole and was leading the race at the time this happened. If you’d sack someone for that I am very glad I don’t work for you…

  4. Seb’s fault.

    1. I was almost sure it was Ericsson! ;)

      1. No he did Russell ;)

  5. Would be nice to see onboard shots from Hamilton and Bottas from the second lap: did they use the same lines at Tosa, or did Hamilton’s aero move the debris right into the path of the following Bottas?

    1. Huh? Bottas was leading and Hamilton was in third place.

      1. Indeed. Old memory playing tricks and I just assume that Hamilton is leading all the time :D

    2. Well considering bottas was first and Hamilton was 3rd i highly doubt Hamilton had anything to do with it.

    3. As Adam and @scbriml mention, @kaiie, Bottas was the first car on track, so him collecting it and “hoovering it up” (conveniently for Hamilton it turned out) made the potential hazard go away for everyone else!

    4. @kaiie What!? Hamilton was two cars behind. It was obviously Ericsson.

  6. That’s a fair old chunk of Seb’s car. Was that caught on Bottas’ car just for the first stint or the whole race?

    1. It was stuck under the floor and Mercedes didn’t have time to remove it after the first pit stop. So bottas had it stuck under his car until the safety car pit stop

    2. Yeah, that was stuck under the car for the whole race after lap 2. No wonder Bottas had to work hard to keep Verstappen behind and was losing about a second per lap for most of the race once Hamilton wasn’t stuck behind them.

      I do wonder whether the team pitted Bottas relatively early as well because they hoped they would be able to pull the debris out during the pitstop (which turned out not to be the case) – surely he could have gone longer too.

      1. @bascb Bottas would have come out behind Max if they did a longer stop to clear the debris. There was no guarantee that removing it would fix the issue, either.

        1. Yes, he would have gotten out behind Max. But then if they saw the time loss, it might have been worth it. Or they could have kept him out for longer, just like they kept Hamilton out @gardenfella72

    3. Wow, that must mean Bottas had a whole rear wing under his car in Portugal?

    4. It just shows how much of a performance advantage Mercedes have when they can have an enormous piece of material disrupting their underbody airflow and still be faster than everyone on the grid except Verstappen.

  7. That’s clearly the fastest any part of a Ferrari car has gone this year.

    1. Yep, and that is the reason it cost Bottas his deserved win.

      1. That is sometimes how things go – there are many cases of a driver having a random event ruin their race (e.g. Alesi once having a piece of debris from his own team mate break his suspension and put him out of the race). Sometimes he has been lucky and sometimes unlucky – it kind of balances out in the end.

        1. Lewis lost a race win because of a faulty headrest in Azerbaijan 2017, whilst Bottas lost a win due to running over debris at the same race in 2018.

          1. Also Lewis was unable to challenge Bottas in Australia 2019 due broken floor. It happens all the time

  8. Mark in Florida
    1st November 2020, 17:40

    Bottas doesn’t have a real chance at all unless he’s just crushing everyone in a race. They told Bottas he couldn’t call his own strategy yet Lewis does it. They put Lewis on a different strategy which is is contrary to what they said they would do for the leader of the race to prevent being jumped in the pits. They also conveniently left the debris stuck in his floor which acted as a natural slow down for Bottas and a huge advantage to Lewis. It’s getting pretty blatant with how Merc is treating Bottas. They just don’t care what it looks like anymore in my opinion no matter what they say about fairness. They should man up and tell Bottas, you can’t come in first we don’t care where you qualify. It’s a shame about Verstappen though he made the race interesting. Loved Imola, this is a real race track without airport runways around every corner. They need to come back here again.

    1. Yes, they should have spent some extra time in pits pulling out that piece, whilst both Max and Ham sailed past. And you wouldn’t be on here claiming it was a deliberate ploy by Mercedes to delay Bottas to let Ham past would you?

      1. Mark in Florida
        1st November 2020, 18:32

        They sailed past anways, so what’s your point since there apparently isn’t one. Other than to defend Mercs underhanded tactics Ian. I don’t dislike Lewis i dislike how Toto runs the team to the benefit of one driver when he claims it to be otherwise. If it walks like a duck and sounds like a duck it must be a duck and the evidence is clear that Bottas is getting the short straw.

        1. That’s because Lewis tires were in a much better shape and Bottas had no choice but to cover Max hence early pitstop. Ham proceed with hammer time and earned him that victory regards of Bottas debris under the floor. Hamilton on the other hand held off Max beautifully in Australia 2019 in that broken floor way worse than Bottas today yet Bottas made silly errors due pressure. Ham also had the pressure in Australia 2019 but his skill and talent earned him that 2nd with no mistakes and Max was powerless

        2. Mark in Florida, Mercedes did later remove the debris when they pitted during the safety car period – by your theory, if the team really were that biased and wanted to harm Bottas’s pace, why not then continue to leave the debris in place?

          Also, how would the team know that Bottas would not be overtaken by Verstappen? You are assuming the team knew that Bottas would hold onto the place – something they could not be certain of, given nobody really had a clear idea if an undercut would be that effective.

          It feels a lot like you’re retrospectively projecting your theory onto the final race results, but not considered if it was possible to predict with such certainty what the outcome would be at the time.

    2. Yeah like Mercs couldn’t fix Lewis broken floor to smash Bottas in Australia 2019. Short memories? Lewis did very well in Australia 2019 due broken floor and held of Max beautifully unlike bottas who made twice mistakes and allowed Max to overtake him.

  9. I’ve heard 2 reasons for Imola being removed from the calendar.
    1) The difficulty/expense of creating the space required for a modern F1 Paddock and ‘Motor Home’ city due to the barrier of the river along one side.
    2) Due to a more ‘traditional’ circuit fitting into the landscape the difficulty of a ‘Commercial TV’ coverage of the action and an impression of speed and ‘on the edge’ control.

    I disagree with (2) as whatever the circuit and presumably spotters for the production team and the vast arrays of fixed and ‘special cameras with all feeds recorded, live, playback or highlights have only in my estimation, a 50% rate of showing significant incidents.
    1) Bottas hitting debris
    2) Verstappen puncture (on track)
    3) Vettel collision

    Might be wrong on (3) but a car camera shot (beloved of FOM producer) doesn’t really show the the relationship of cars onthe track.

    1. yeah i don’t think we even saw an on-board of the Vettel – Magnussen collision. at least I don’t remember it

  10. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    1st November 2020, 22:00

    The guy can’t catch a break…

    1. Like Lewis couldn’t in Australia 2019 with a broken floor? It doesn’t happen with Bottas only but with Lewis too. Perhaps Bottas should never drove over that massive debris in the middle. That’s ridiculous thing to do. I would never drive my car over a big on coming debris in the middle. It would destroy anything under my car.

      1. @edti You keep going to the well with that one. No one disagrees Hamilton is better, but Bottas has had much more bad luck and Mercedes due to tend pit Bottas way earlier than Hamilton against all logic even when he’s putting in fast lap after fast lap (not just when he destroys his tires early which happens too). Lewis tends to get good luck, but he does tend to make his own good luck (which makes it not really luck). Either way, Bottas has had a lot of disasters that weren’t down to his driving.

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