Mercedes’ gains come from set-up changes, not upgrades – Bottas

2021 United States Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas says the progress Mercedes have made in recent races has come from set-up changes, not new parts.

He said the handling of the car is much improved now compared to the start of the year.

“If I look at the beginning of the season to now, for sure it handles a lot better,” Bottas confirmed. “I think the biggest issues we had with the car was the rear end being quite unstable and overall just lacking grip compared to last year.

“So I think we’re just able to balance the car a bit better recently. That’s the main feeling, that it’s a bit more stable and more drive-able.”

This improvement has come from working on the car rather than introducing new parts, said Bottas.

“During the mid-season or beginning of the season, we did have some upgrades, but lately not,” he said. “It’s been just purely working the set-up, working the balance and getting it more more drive-able.”

His Red Bull rival Sergio Perez said he was “definitely” surprised by the gains Mercedes had made. “I think since couple of races ago, they’ve been able to find a lot of pace, especially on the straights.”

However Perez believes the Circuit of the Americas will suit Red Bull better than Istanbul Park, where they were beaten by Mercedes in qualifying.

“Certainly we should be more competitive than what we did in the last race in Turkey,” said Perez. “I think Mercedes dominated the weekend pretty easily compared to us.

“So I really hope here because of the layout, the high speed, that kind of section, that we can be a lot closer and really have a great race together.”

Blue: Mercedes faster; Green Red Bull faster; Grey: Difference unrepresentative

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2021 United States Grand Prix

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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...

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3 comments on “Mercedes’ gains come from set-up changes, not upgrades – Bottas”

  1. Still doesn’t explain how they can now race with a barn door rear wing and still have the edge on top speed, but then they wouldn’t tell Bottas anything, would they.

  2. Ok. The updates came in the First half of the season, but getting them to work took sometime. I can live with that explanation.

    But I believe, as standard practice, Bottas is being kept out of the loop since he signed with Alfa. Mercedes won’t tell him all the details anymore, and that’s understandable.

    Besides top speed, what Mercedes seemed to lack at the beginning of the season was acceleration out of slow corners. Be it due to lack of rear grip or engine set up, of course I can’t tell from where I’m standing…:-)

    But I’ll have to go with Horner on this one. They have the numbers. Mercedes is winning the drag races easily now, and flying on the straights with large wings. Power Unit gains, driving them harder, something like that.

    1. I think they run the engine on higher modes too and indeed they setup they find the sweet spot now.

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