Bottas disagreed with qualifying strategy: “We wasted a tyre set”

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In the round-up: Valtteri Bottas criticised Mercedes’ qualifying strategy after he took third place on the grid for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

What they say

Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton had two new sets of the soft compound tyre to use in the final segment of qualifying, and ended up on the front row. However Bottas used an extra set in Q1 meaning he only had one run on new tyres in Q3, where he qualified third. He wasn’t pleased with the call:

First of all, the practice this afternoon was quite tricky. I didn’t really find a good balance with the car, so it made more chances for the qualifying. The first run of qualifying, actually felt OK. But the lap time wasn’t quite there, so we went again with the new tyres in Q1, which I kind of disagreed, we basically wasted a tyre set. So in Q3, I only had one run with the new tyres. It was not really an optimal qualifying for me.

But throughout the qualifying, the pace really, my confidence within the car and the feeling with the car and understanding of the wind was improving. So it was getting better and better. But I think Max was out of reach today, definitely. But still, I think even with new one new set at the end of quali, it felt like a nice lap, and decent comeback from trickier session earlier on. At least now we have two cars in top three. So I’m sure we can do something good with that.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Lundgaard loses then regains second place in F2

Lundgaard got his second place back
There were penalties handed out during and after the second Formula 2 sprint race at Bahrain, with the night-time action leading to lots of drama.

Alpine Academy members Guanyu Zhou, Oscar Piastri and Christian Lundgaard fought for the win going into the final lap, with Lundgaard taking the lead into turn one only to lose it at the exit of the corner to Piastri after both dived past long-time leader Zhou.

Lundgaard had pitted during the race to serve a 10-second penalty, but as the FIA wasn’t sure it had been correctly taken he still had the penalty added to his race time and dropped to ninth. Several hours later, it was decided that Lundgaard had in fact served the penalty and he was reinstated in second place in the results. That pushed Carlin’s Jehan Daruvala off the bottom step of the podium, and he is under investigation for an alleged unsafe release in the pit lane.

In addition to that, penalties were handed to Juri Vips for a Virtual Safety Car infringement and to Felipe Drugovich for spinning Liam Lawson.

Formula E adds races to next two events

Formula E has announced that the next two events of its 2020-21 season in Rome and Valencia will now feature two races each.

The world championship began with two races on the streets of Riyadh in February, and it heads to Rome for rounds three and four on April 10th-11th. The trip to Italy was originally supposed to include a single Rome EPrix as in previous years.

Valencia’s permanent circuit hosts FE two weeks later on April 24th-25th, and that too now includes two rounds. With Monaco, Marrakesh and the Santiago double-header all confirmed too, it means the season is already up to 10 races before the six events that are on the calendar but yet to have their dates announced have their places on the schedule finalised.

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Comment of the day

The first qualifying session of the F1 season answered some of the questions and confirmed some of the predictions from pre-season testing, but also threw up some surprises. The battle up front between Mercedes and Red Bull got a lot of attention, but as Bonno (presumably no relation to Hamilton’s race engineer) pointed out, there were some interesting performances further back too.

Clearly, the Red Bull pace is real. I don’t really believe in the concept of “sandbagging”, I think it’s down to different testing scenarios, but Mercedes evidently have a pace issue. Same with Aston, that car does not look comfortable to drive and I think Stroll actually did a great job getting into Q3. It looks bad for Vettel, but his lap went through two consecutive yellow sectors, it’s hard to know how fast he really can be.

AlphaTauri clearly best of the rest, and Ferrari not too far behind. Sainz is right on the heels of Leclerc which is great for the team.
Bonno

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On this day in F1

  • 45 years ago today Clay Regazzoni won F1’s first Long Beach Grand Prix, for Ferrari, from pole position

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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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15 comments on “Bottas disagreed with qualifying strategy: “We wasted a tyre set””

  1. Anybody have any further insights on the Noda situation? – that seems really odd

    Reply moderated
  2. The more sets get used for their intended purpose, the better.

    Yes, Sed had two separate yellow sections on his second lap, but the earlier one is what ultimately made the difference as it did for Ocon.

  3. 45 years ago today Clay Regazzoni won F1’s first Long Beach Grand Prix, for Ferrari, from pole position

    I’d sincerely like to put forward a motion that “On this day” shall henceforth be replaced in the roundup by “Gentlemen, a short view back to the past”

    1. I second this. Maybe get Walter Koster onboard as a columnist too xD

  4. Bottas isn’t happy with the car, he isn’t happy with the strategy, he isn’t happy with the black overalls, maybe he should go back to Williams?

    1. Or it’s nice having someone who’s not always talking PR nonsense for a change.

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      28th March 2021, 10:34

      Black overalls was a perfectly understandable thing to point out at the time he did. It was more pointing out a fact than implying he wasn’t happy with them the whole time. Darker colours soak more heat in from sunlight, so in a sense, in terms of keeping drivers cool, the black overalls were not such a smart idea for hot days.

  5. Nice recovery from Bottas to end up so close with all his struggles so far this weekend, but the extra set used in Q1 had to be done.

  6. I agree with COTD. Alpha Tauri definitely looks like the third fastest car, which is very surprising (although Autosport actually predicted this). Ferrari are fourth quickest for now, but last year they seemed to struggle in the races so maybe McLaren will be quicker tomorrow. The greatest surprises for me have been: the pace of Carlos Sainz, who I expected to be around half-a-second behind Leclerc at this point in the season, but has generally been right on his pace; obviously Alpha Tauri’s speed; and the margin that Red Bull had over Mercedes. I was expecting Mercedes to still be the better team, but only just; instead, Red Bull do seem quicker.

  7. Mercedes always seem to go out for extra runs in Q1 and Q2, even when they are totally safe (which is almost always), weird that the drivers haven’t complained about it before.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      28th March 2021, 10:32

      This is one reason why I don’t think it is that surprising that Bottas disagreed with it. Some are implying he isn’t happy with anything. He’s just making a statement and showing that he disagrees.

  8. What’s the story behind Juju Noda’s withdrawal?

  9. F1’s new owners arrived with a mission: to attract new fans to a sporting property that was unhealthily white, male and middle-aged.

    What a discriminatory and prejudicial view. Practically racist.

    1. It is certainly a weird way to describe the situation. (It’s possible to express a desire, or even need, to broaden the range of people attracted to a product without calling the current audience “unhealthy”.)

  10. Curious as to the Noda situation. What’s up?

    Reply moderated

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