Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Imola, 2021

Poor Imola pace was “100% tyres”, says Bottas

2021 Portuguese Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes have identified the cause of his poor pace during the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, prior to the clash with George Russell which ended his race.

Having been quickest during practice on Friday, Bottas qualified eighth, almost half a second behind Lewis Hamilton. He lost ground in the race and was almost lapped by his team mate before the collision with Russell which put both of them out.

Bottas said the team have since got to the bottom of the problems he encountered. “In Imola the struggles in qualifying, now once we understood everything, it was 100% tyres,” he admitted.

“My Q1 time would have been enough for the second row. And in Q3, we ended up eighth. So it’s an area that we need to pay more attention to.”

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Autodromo do Algarve, 2021
Bottas doubts the removal of DAS contributed to his problems
Bottas had looked peerless on one-lap pace at Imola in 2020, when Mercedes’ cars were equipped with the Dual Axis Steering (DAS) system. But he doubts the loss of that technology this year was a factor in his underwhelming performance.

“With the DAS for sure it was helpful on that [tyre warm-up] but to be honest in Imola the main issue for me was rear tyres,” he explained. “Getting them warm, instead of the fronts. The DAS system was only for the fronts.

“So I’m sure last year we had a benefit in some places for that, but not necessarily for Imola.”

Mercedes engineering director Andrew Shovlin said after the race weekend that tyre warm-up had been the root of Bottas’ troubles at Imola.

“He did look very strong on Friday and was in a good position, very happy with the car,” said Shovlin. “In qualifying he seemed to be struggling a little bit more for the tyre temperature than Lewis.

“The thing with tyre temperature though is often a very small difference has a very big impact on grip. Unfortunately for Valtteri, he was just the wrong side of a lot of cars and that gave him a very compromised start position.

“In the race, really, he was struggling following, and being able to overtake, just because he was losing front end in the tow but also the rear wasn’t strong. And again, it was that theme that warm-up was a problem for him.”

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Author information

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...
Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching Photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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30 comments on “Poor Imola pace was “100% tyres”, says Bottas”

  1. Poor Imola pace was „100% Bottas“, say tyres

    1. Lol, very good.

    2. @pweb87 hilarious! Haha

  2. Not even 1% talent, Bottas?

    1. Nope.

      Apparently Toto took the the tyres into the briefing room after the race and they admitted it was 100% them. The front left said that it was particularly at fault and apologised to Bottas personally.

  3. Ability to generate warm up in tyres is a driver thing, right?

  4. They need to scrub him up well for when they announce him as Lewis’ teammate again in 2022, and also paint George as the lunatic who needs to rot for another year in a Williams to “mature”.

    It’s a season long strategy.

    1. someone or something
      30th April 2021, 9:04

      That is so disgustingly cynical, it’s probably true.

      1. I think the opposite in that they need to scrub him up well to keep him intact for this more competitive season until he can be replaced by GR next year, who was there to pass VB in his Williams, VB obviously defenceless in his ‘tireless’ Championship leading car.

    2. Ill be honest. Could you imagine the fireworks between Red Bull and Mercedes if somehow George ended up at Red Bull next season. It would be a lot more entertaining thats for sure.

      1. I so hope that happens! 😜

      2. And here you are. Thought I was gone? I’m not! 🤣

      3. I’ll be honest. Enemy Warning! 🤣

      4. ILL BE honEst. cOUlD YOu iMagiNE tHe FIrewORKs betWeEn RED BUll and MeRcEdEs if SOmeHoW GEORge ENDED Up at REd bull NExt sEasoN. iT WoUlD BE A LOT moRE enTErTAiNING thatS FoR SuRe.

        Had enough of me?

  5. Understanding tyres and its management is part of the job, both in dry and wet races.

  6. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    30th April 2021, 8:18

    Bottas always struggles in wet races, and while it is related to the tyres, he does a worse job than most other drivers at finding their ideal operating window for these conditions. We likely will have found out that later in the race, he will have been at least decent or good again.

  7. Lack of goals was “100% boots” says striker.

  8. The world’s tiniest violin is playing just for you Bottas.

    1. I don’t think his excuse about DAS holds water. With warm front tyres it will be easier to warm up the rears. He is definitely missing DAS.

  9. I’m glad Bottas explained this to me, because before I thought the tires were the same for all drivers. Now I know.

  10. Next week:

    “Mischevious elves caused Bottas’ poor finish in Portimao”

  11. Bottas was never destined for great things (not that the tyres knew it)..

  12. So tyres It is! A couple of drivers struggle with race pace in the last stint compared to their teammates.

    But since tyres are the same for everyone, it’s a driver issue. Or a setup issue. Or both.

  13. Tommy Scragend
    30th April 2021, 14:38

    Looks like my James Hunt quote didn’t make it past the censor, so here’s the link if you’re not familiar with it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khA67-r5lSQ

    1. Tommy Scragend
      30th April 2021, 14:40

      The point being that Bottas’ excuse is about as plausible as Arnoux’s was back then.

  14. Maybe it is just me but I can’t find Bottas blaming the tyres. He and his engineers are just explaining that there was no other issue in the car and root cause was not being able to warm the tyres adequately.

  15. Everyone likes to deride VB, deservedly so. But fact is he is right. The F1 tyres do stink, with the very narrow temperature window they need to be in. It is ridiculous how they ruin someone’s race every now and then, just because they just refuse to heat up a few more degrees.

  16. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    30th April 2021, 18:18

    While I am a fan of Bottas, i still will be against him for the way he is saying say “I” when he manages to get decent or great performance out of the car and then “we” when he himself underperformed. I noticed this a lot last year when reading the race reports on Haas’s site. Both Grosjean and Magnussen when they had a bad day were saying it as if it was always the team together than let them down. Then speaking for themselves when they did well.

    But when Bottas says it is 100% tyres, he doesn’t mean that as an excuse in the way people are thinking. It isn’t a problem with the tyres, but it was the tyres that he couldn’t manage. And in that sense it was 100% tyres that was his problem as he just couldn’t get them in the right operating window. I don’t think it was anything to do with his lack of pace, or if it was, it was because he couldn’t warm the tyres up. Still his own problem though.

Comments are closed.