Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2021

Bottas “could have been on the podium” with earlier pit stop

2021 Russian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by and

Valtteri Bottas said he could have finished on the podium had Mercedes brought him into the pits for intermediate tyres when they first discussed it.

He was among the first drivers to pit for intermediate tyres, on lap 47, when ran began to fall. He was running 14th at the time, and the early call lifted him to fifth place at the finish.

However Bottas revealed he discussed pitting a lap earlier as he approached the pits. His race engineer Ricardo Musconi advised him “Raining at turn four, five,” towards the end of the lap.

“Is it going to continue?” Bottas asked. “Should we box?”

“Affirm it will continue,” Musconi replied, “but don’t box, stay out, stay out.”

“It’s pretty bad, we should have boxed,” Bottas told his team during the following lap, before coming in.

Bottas finished five seconds behind third-placed Carlos Sainz Jnr, with Daniel Ricciardo in between them. He believes he could have taken a spot on the rostrum had he come in straight away.

“I think we made the right call at the end and stopped early,” said Bottas. “I actually tried to come even one lap earlier but the team wasn’t ready.

“So I think with that we could have been on the podium. But still we were one of the early ones to stop, which was the right call.”

It had been a difficult race up to that point for Bottas who struggled to make progress from his starting position of 16th after a power unit change. “I think the rain kind of saved us today that we got some points,” he admitted.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 Russian Grand Prix

    Browse all 2021 Russian Grand Prix articles

    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...
    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...

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

    31 comments on “Bottas “could have been on the podium” with earlier pit stop”

    1. Are you kidding me? His performance wasn’t worthy of any points, let alone a podium. He got there in p5 through sheer happenstance.

      1. How he waved Verstappen through was a joke. I get he doesn’t want to play wingman anymore but he literally moved out of Verstappens way. Love you Valterri but today you were shocking!

        1. @deanr

          I think it was obvious that he gave up the position and let VER play through. No way he could have been caught surprised by VER making that pass, his team must have been telling him that VER was coming and seriously doubt they told him to let VER pass like that.
          It definitely was not a good look as Mercedes team driver fighting for a team trying to win the WCC & WDC championships. Either way, it was a good example on why Mercedes made a good move to promote Russell.

        2. @deanr @redpill “Good look?” Is it a good look to only change his engine? If they were so worried about reliability why not change more components. Wait cost cap, that’s it…

          Bottas was looking strong all weekend. Bottas might have had a shot at victory. Merc might have had to ask him to move over, or worry about potential contact between both cars at the start. Merc elected not have that headache, to not have to worry about Bottas, not worry about him potentially affecting Lewis’ start or race. All focus on Lewis. They sent him to the back.

          Bottas was hired as a stop gap then mercedes quickly realised Bottas was not going to clash with Lewis and that he was “willing” to play number 2 therefore they kept signing bottas on one year deals. Now that merc cannot not keep ignoring Russell, Bottas’ loyalty landed him a retirement plan at Sauber. Dream over.
          Valtteri is gone, he has no say, zero. I’m not surprised he is just lapping around.

          1. I assume you didn’t mean to include me in your response? Because I didnt mention anything about “good look”.
            I can understand why he doesn’t want to play ball but he was still “shockingly bad” yesterday.

            1. You literally said “It definitely was not a good look”. Just FYI.

        3. @deanr That indeed was a joke. As if he had blue flags/lights, LOL.

      2. He had some of that Hamilton luck on his side..

    2. Running around 14th in the best car was shocking.

      1. Nandy,

        You do realize he started in 16th on the grid due to a grid penalty for taking a new PU and then finished in 5th?

        1. @redpill Doesn’t excuse his poor performance. He was bailed out by the rain and being in a position with nothing to lose. Running 14th on merit after 50 laps is disgraceful in that car.

        2. You probably didn’t watch the race since you only mentioned the start and end result.

      2. Well he qualified much further ahead before his team decided to sabotage him

    3. You could have been on the podium if you were probably at least more aggressive in defending against Verstappen. That was a real shocker when that happened so easily.

    4. I think Bottas should be thankful that he got anything today rather than blaming the team, but I guess he’s leaving now, so why should he care?

      1. @eurobrun the team gave him a 10 place grid penalty. How would you feel?

    5. Had Bottas pushed hard and not let MV through then he could have been the one who finished second.

    6. Could’ve, would’ve…oh well…Bottas: a should’ve career

    7. He needs to be shown the door he is a real threat to cost Lewis the championship. I know he took Max out in Hungary so helped Lewis but he easily could do the same to LH. It would not shock me atall if he decides to go rogue. Even in Catalunya this year he did not get out the way for a whole lap. The RedBull today was just getting waved through.

      1. You DO realize that in Hungary Bottas crashed into the back of Lando and had zero control over where Max was at that point, right?
        All that man has done is help Lewis and Merc… many times to the detriment of his own race. Including Sochi’s engine penalty… which was basically replacing parts that weren’t working from the Monza PU and ensuring the team gets the engine right before Hamilton has to take it. Lewis is perfectly capable of winning the WDC on his own… but Merc need Bottas for the WCC and his 151 points are a BIG help.

    8. Thank goodness Russell is replacing him!

    9. Disaster really, this is a 3\10 race for bottas, like baku and he even dares demand more points?

      1. @esploratore1

        He’s not “demanding more points”

        He’s stating that pitting one lap earlier as he suggested on the radio could have effectively got the team an extra 5 points. In an interview, he even admitted he struggled in the first stint and that he didn’t even see Verstappen which indeed is poor.

        However, his performance on the inters actually looked better than a lot of other drivers and he started doing rather a lot of passes at that stage – that were not just passing drivers in the pit lane. Given his performance here, it is highly likely that if the team did what he wanted, he will have gained 1 or 2 more places.

        There is no denying that if it hadn’t rained, his performance likely will have been so poor that he won’t have finished in the points. But what seems unusual is that Bottas for once actually looked good when the rain came.

        I think Bottas has a problem with emotions effecting his performance and distracting him. When he’s got confidence like in monza and is prepared in advance for a penalty, his form can be excellent. I think he was somewhat frustrated that he was supposed to be helping his team mate who effectively had hindered him in qualifying, and then had an additional 15 place grid penalty handed out to him.

    10. Could have won the race, no doubt!

    11. Track was still quite dry at that point. Wouldn’t he have shredded his inters if he stopped earlier still?

    12. He also could have won if all the people in front of him crashed.

      See what I did there?

    13. Good to see Bottas giving it back in kind to the team that is hell bent on screwing his weekend.

    14. How you (well many of you here) like to turn on people, forming masses etc. His team treats him like a joke for the entire season. Now they started changing his engines regularly to force him to penalize him if he’s got a solid starting position. I don’t care about the details and their reasoning, but I don’t think any of you would’ve felt appreciated or treated fairly in that team. But it’s only cool supporting the champ isn’t it, it’s the easiest thing to do. I’ve never seen a team regularly punishing their own driver for “tactical” reasons. Sometimes it’s just too much… And remember when Hamilton was asked not to fight Rosberg. He didn’t care much for the team at that moment either, did he? And I applauded him for that. I’m not sure if things will be so different with Russel, he was already receiving (inter)team orders this season, right?

      1. *to force him to start at the back of the grid.

      2. Which ever way you turn it, his performance is disappointing. Now that he knows he is leaving Mercedes, I would so much have liked to see him show the team his middle finger and actually race and fight for places. Where Verstappen quite often manages to overtake on the very first opportunity, Bottas seems to always struggle. Yesterday, he was used as a tactical pawn again, to start in front of and hold up Verstappen, both with a fresh engine. As it turned out, he didn’t even see Verstappen coming. You could blame the team for not keeping him posted, but in the end it’s his own lack of overview and his preoccupation with ‘struggeling’ that’s to blame. He can be fast on a single lap, but he seems to lack almost all fighting spirit and -especially- race cunning. A true sportsman is a fighter till the end, Bottas often seems to resign to fate and give up too easily. He’s a nice guy alright, but that is also probably the single reason why he was signed again and again by Mercedes, who knew they had the fastest car by far anyway. Now that the fight is on between Mercedes and other teams, Bottas too often is nowhere and shows the same mediocrity as Perez.
        I can only hope that we will see another Bottas at Alfa, but to be honest, I’m very doubtful about it.
        I’d be more than willing to see positives in Bottas, but I really can’t seem to find them.

        1. The dude has 8 podiums… which should be 10 had the team not screwed up in Monaco and France. The engine penalty was tactical, but not to hold up Max; they had problems with the new PU from Monza and they’re using Bottas as an engine lab rat so that it’s perfect by the time Hamilton needs one. Max also reported a massive struggle in overtaking, citing the same struggles Bottas described in being unable to get/stay close. Which explains why Bottas didn’t even know Max was there, as his focus would have been on the car in front of him (and where was team radio to let him know 33 was coming up fast?).
          Bottas has shown repeatedly he can overtake. Monza and Abu Dhabi (’19) are sheer masterclasses in it. But what does it do to a driver to be sent to the back two races in a row, despite showing the fastest speeds (we won’t count the disaster quali in Sochi, since that had nothing to do with Bottas performance-wise) and arguably a better chance for a win than one’s teammate?
          Bottas’ biggest weakness is tyre management… yet the team constantly put him on the supportive strategy (with Lewis on the winning strategy) despite it requiring heavy tyre management… and then he can’t defend on done tyres and people just look at it and say he has no racecraft.
          I predict we WILL see more from Bottas at Alfa… just like we saw his brilliance at Williams.

    Comments are closed.