Bottas happier in car but unsure if chassis swap with Hamilton is responsible

2021 French Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas said he felt much happier at the wheel of his Mercedes at Paul Ricard during practice today following his sub-par performance at the previous race.

However the Mercedes driver is unsure whether his greater confidence has come about because he swapped chassis with team mate Lewis Hamilton prior to this weekend.

“It’s hard to say if it’s chassis or track conditions,” said Bottas after practice today, “but it’s a lot better feeling than two weeks ago, that’s for sure.

“I could feel we started the weekend on the right foot. Everything was feeling quite okay and being comfortable and pretty fast with the car so far.”

The exchange of chassis came about because teams have adapted their 2020 cars to run during the 2021 season. Mercedes is rotating its chassis between drivers to ensure they cover similar mileages.

“We swap parts around all the time,” Mercedes CEO Toto Wolff told Sky. “This is part of the planning, as these carry-over chassis run for a second season, so we are not accumulating millions of miles on one, basically that’s part of the plan.”

Bottas led Hamilton in both of today’s practice sessions. During the afternoon running Hamilton was heard telling his team on the radio something felt wrong with his car’s handling.

However Hamilton doubts switching to his team mate’s chassis has put him at a disadvantage. “Very rarely do you have any differences between the chassis,” he said.

Wolff said the team is prepared to give Hamilton an alternative chassis if he isn’t happy with his latest one.

“It’s the chassis that was splendid in Monaco, that qualified Valtteri right in front,” said Wolff. “But you never know. You listen to the engineers and they said it’s all tested and it’s stiff, there shouldn’t be any difference, but if the driver feels that it’s not then it’s definitely not worth trying to make a point here, then you just need to change.”

“It’s good to get the feedback and if it calms the driver’s mind, we have a spare chassis, which is a brand new one, we can always do that,” Wolff added.

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2021 French Grand Prix

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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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12 comments on “Bottas happier in car but unsure if chassis swap with Hamilton is responsible”

  1. So if Lewis complains he will get a brand new chassis. If valtteri complains he will receive a swap part.
    I see, both drivers are equal indeed.

    1. at this point does anyone really care?
      Bottas let the team down countless times, yet got extensions year after year. So what?

      Let they do their thing.

      1. I’m completely confused. Bottas smashed his chassis in Imola. Did Merc repair that and have now given it to Hamilton?

        1. 100% racing incident.

        2. That one was written-off. This new one made its first race this year in Portugal.

          1. So Bottas has been using a newer chassis since Portugal while Hamilton has been using an older one?

          2. Not a new one, a different one. They are rotating chassis constantly to not overuse one or two and left others unused.

      2. The team let valtteri down countless times.
        Most recent the 48hour pitstop.
        But if things go well there’s always “valtteri, this is james”.

        1. Yeah, but Bottas does not hire anyone there. What’s your point !?

    2. To mean that would mean that 2 drivers say something’s wrong with a chassis so the preponderance then tilts towards some sort of issue. It’s occurred before. In 2013, Lewis was underperforming They would up x-raying the chassis and found 2 cracks in the tub.

  2. Scotty (@rockonscotty)
    18th June 2021, 23:50

    Does anyone know a good resource where you can keep up with what chassis race where? I have always found it fascinating keeping up with the individual cars.

  3. So either there is nothing to it or..
    The chassis has an issue, which DOES happen.
    I’m surprised Toto has not swapped chassis’ yet given how easy he says it is to do. We’re now certainly too late to swap between Fp3 and Qualifying.

    Personally I think this is a substantial mistake with potentially serious consequences for Lewis’ championship hopes and Mercedes constructors bid.

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