Start, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2021

“That should not happen”: Wolff unhappy Bottas let Verstappen by at start

2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was unimpressed Max Verstappen was able to sweep past both of the team’s cars at the start of the Mexico City Grand Prix.

The team claimed the front row of the grid for today’s race, but Verstappen was able to drive around the outside of the two W12s to take the lead. Wolff acknowledged Bottas, who started from pole position, left room for Verstappen to draw alongside on the racing line.

“That should not happen,” Wolff told Sky. “I think we had two cars in front and seemed to open up the seal for Max to come around the outside.”

Bottas was then knocked into a spin by Daniel Ricciardo which left him at the rear of the field. “The spin afterwards and a complete loss of points with Valtteri’s car, when that could have been a third or fourth place, is annoying to say the least,” Wolff added.

However Wolff does not believe Mercedes would have won the race if they had successfully contained Verstappen at the start.

“You have to congratulate Red Bull because the pace was just on another level. I don’t think we could have won the race, even if we would have stayed ahead in the first corner because they could have driven circles around us, around the pit stops.

“So at the end, I think for Lewis’ championship, it was damage limitation. As for the constructors, Valtteri spinning out turn one was just very painful.”

Red Bull showed strong pace in final practice on Saturday but unexpectedly slumped in qualifying, allowing Mercedes to claim the front row of the grid. Wolff said Red Bull’s race pace was even better than it looked in practice.

“I don’t know what they did wrong yesterday in qualifying and what went towards us, but that is the pace we’ve seen on Friday,” he said. “It’s worse than we had hoped. But you have to take it on the chin.”

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

Browse all 2021 Mexico City Grand Prix articles

Author information

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.

34 comments on ““That should not happen”: Wolff unhappy Bottas let Verstappen by at start”

  1. Hm, not really sure what Bottas could have done there to block Verstappen off really. We’ve seen it often enough that the tow is really strong here, especially for the pole sitter it is hard to stay ahead.

    1. Easy: brake 20metres later. Bottas might not have made the corner but he would have forced max wide too. Guaranteeing a free pass for Lewis on the inside.

      1. @trib4udi If only he thought about this option at that moment.

      2. Easy to make up a strategy in a couple of second at 300 km/h

    2. Botta is delibrately sabotaging Mercedes, he should be replaced now if mercedes want to win the constrctor championship.

      1. His better than Russell

    3. He should have stayed on the left on the racing line .. let Max get in the middle of the track not the outside where the dirt is and where you have to break earlier.

    4. Verstappen would never try that move If Bottas had blocked the outside line.

      That’s what Mercedes get firing the guy on the moment they needed him the most since he got there.

    5. PIERRE-RENÉ BINYOM
      7th November 2021, 22:14

      He could have done what Leclerc and Vettel did to Hamilton in 2019 : squeeze him on the grass, leaving him no room to go on the cleaner side.

    6. Yes, this straight is not like sochi’s. Impossible to do whatever mercedes is blaming Bottas for.

    7. You know, when sky was showing Bottas his pole lap they also played him a race start on that track where Hamilton was squeezed to the outside by a super agressive Sebastian Vettel. Its a shame Bottas didn’t take anything from that example.

    8. Bottas had a bad start and the slipstream gave Max such a tow he was next to Bottas before the half of the straight was passed then Max was already there and only going to miss turn 1 on purpose i don’t think Bottas is such a guy i would Lewis see doing that. Bottas braked early to let Lewis by otherwise Lewis would crash into him. While this was not a perfect i think Bottas did his best to ensure Lewis took second.

      That is also why Daniel hit Bottas on his wheel.

  2. Talk about being ungrateful for letting Lewis through.

    1. Indeed if he didn’t Lewis would crash into him as he was on the dirty side.

  3. I feel Bottas only needed to block the outside. Hamilton could basically box him in. If Verstappen still would try something he would need to do so on the dirt..

  4. I feel bad for Valtteri and he was unlucky, but I kinda have to agree with Toto. In the past years the driver starting from P3 did not have room on the outside of T1. I didn’t think it would an advantageous position for Max because of that.

  5. Involuntary team work.

  6. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    7th November 2021, 22:27

    Bottas should just keep sabotaging them team. Give them what they deserve.

  7. That’s what happens when you treat a driver like that for so many years

    1. Give him a championship winning car?

  8. Bottas being quite weak in defence isn’t a new thing though… This has been the case for years and is one of the reasons people have said he should be replaced by a better driver.

    He’s a 6/10 driver. That suited Mercedes as it kept him out of Hamilton’s way and their car was fast enough to mean Bottas could usually end up 2nd or 3rd anyway. You can’t have it both ways though – an extremely fast driver with great racecraft who won’t be a challenge to Hamilton.

    1. I rate Bottas a bit higher 7-8/10 but his racecraft one vs one is really weak.

  9. Bottas slept on the job. He obviously should have shut the door on the racing line to his left, since Lewis had already done the same on his side – which was the dirtier side.
    But Bottas seems to do this a lot with Max – he gets built up as likely going to give Max a tough time, but Max just zooms past him when the moment comes (was it Russia that the same happened?).
    Maybe he just doesn’t feel like being a wing man any more, especially now that he has been dumped.

  10. So many ungrateful words for the goat of number 2 drivers. Unusual people tend to victimize the number 2 drivers. Bottas gets told off by his team and everyone really.
    His marriage suffered because he didn’t believe in his wife when she kept telling him merc don’t care about him. Bottas is loyal.

    1. I didn’t know he lost his marriage because of Mercedes i hope you have proof for this?

      1. @peartree is spouting rubbish as he usually does. But this is beyond absurd even for him.

        1. Is that you Emma?
          @macleod of course not! Who do you think I am, the Long Island medium?
          Anyway, seriously go back abd watch her reaction every time Bottas gets “expletive” the sort of betrayal a marriage cannot withstand. Cheated by a 3 pronged star, Wolff, Ham and everyone else.
          (Half joking)

          1. @peartree, I will keep out of these things as these are above my head. Long Island medium not sure what that is but lets keep it about racing only please.

          2. @macleod it is an american psychic, looks like Tony Soprano’s wife.
            Where are the good ol’ days of the internet, have a bit of nonsense, just avatars and words no politics.

          3. @peartree,

            Where are the good ol’ days of the internet, have a bit of nonsense, just avatars and words no politics.

            That is a long long time ago like the 80-90s when the internet was fun.

  11. Are busses the primary mode of public transport in Mexico City? Or is it Trams?

  12. Bottas is not a young driver in his first season of racing, he had pole and control of the racing line. Why he moved to the right to give Verstappen the clean fast line only he knows.

  13. Lets face it, the ideal start for Mercedes would have been for Bottas to have made some kind of contact with Verstappen. Bottas at the very least should have forced Max to think twice about any silly moves on the inside, instead Bottas just opened the door to the outside.

    You can bet if Verstappen had the pole he would have been super agreesive moving about on that run into the first corner. Bottas race craft seems to have ended with him getting pole.

  14. It seems like Bottas doesn’t give a damn if Hamilton wins the WDC. Bottas doesn’t care if the team wins the WCC, either.

Comments are closed.