“Not my lucky day” says Bottas after turn one collision and botched pit stop

2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas admitted it was “not my lucky day” in Mexico after the pole-winner slumped to 15th at the finish.

The Mercedes driver was involved in a first-corner collision with Daniel Ricciardo which left both at the back of the field. His efforts to recover were later thwarted by a slow pit stop.

“It was very tricky for me, obviously,” Bottas recalled of his race on Sunday. “I was quite compromised with the first corner incident. Obviously a lot less than what I aimed for today. Not my lucky day.”

Bottas was overtaken by Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton heading into turn one. Behind him, Ricciardo locked up going into the same corner, and hit the Mercedes from behind, sending it spinning around.

“He really ruined my day today,” Bottas said, jokingly. “Obviously I’m sure he didn’t do the initial hit on purpose and it compromised his race as well.

“But it was not ideal for my race today. I was stuck behind cars that I couldn’t pass and it was really, really tricky.

“[We were] also quite limited with the engine and brake temperatures, so I couldn’t attack for many laps in a row. So I had to go back and forward, and couldn’t find a way to progress.”

Bottas spent several laps running behind Ricciardo on track, unable to overtake the McLaren even with the assistance of DRS.

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“It was tricky,” he said. “They have the same power unit, they have good straight-line speed and he was defending well and I just didn’t find a way [through].”

Mercedes’ attempt to use pit strategy to get Bottas ahead was also thwarted. “The best chance we had to get by was stopping when we tried,” he said. “But it was a slow stop.” His front-left wheel stuck, leaving him stationary for almost 12 seconds.

In an effort to take the fastest lap bonus point away from Red Bull, Mercedes brought Bottas in again for soft compound tyres. But this was compromised when he caught race leader Verstappen, unlapped himself, then was shown blue flags and had to cede the position.

“The team told me I can overtake if I’m faster, but then I got blue flags again and it was a bit messy,” he said.

After a fourth pit stop for another set of softs, Bottas finally secured the fastest lap. He was able to get close enough to the Williams of George Russell which gave him the advantage of DRS and moved him up one place on the final lap.

“In the end, it worked perfectly with George. I actually got DRS from him, and then I got DRS for after turn three as well. It was all about trying to find that gap.”

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2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

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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...
RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...

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17 comments on ““Not my lucky day” says Bottas after turn one collision and botched pit stop”

  1. Luck had nothing to do with it.
    In the first 800 meters Bottas made every wrong choice he could have made.

    He might be a fast driver, but his racecraft is almost non-existent.

  2. And despite pitting twice just to take that 1 bonus point away from Max for the fastest lap, he still gets criticised by his team.
    Perhaps, when they went 3-wide after the start, he should have pushed Max wide on the grass, but you never know.. Maybe even driver nr. 44 would then have been bounced off the track in a collision. I think Valtteri drove a very fair race yesterday..
    Oh, I so desperately wish Valtteri will write a book about his time at Mercedes. I am pretty sure we would get to read some very interesting background stuff..
    I sincerely hope he will only focus on himself and trying to collect as many points as possible for the remainder of the season and not try to help nr. 44.. Wishful thinking, I know :)

    1. Lol – what do you think would be in the book? Something along the lines of how he got to drive the best car on the grid for multiple years ensuring he’d have wins and poles to his name during his career (which would have been extremely unlikely if he’d stayed at Williams) and was paid handsomely for it?

      1. I’m sure that would be in the book. What would also be interesting is to read what it’s like going up against Hamilton and driving for Mercedes. Is he just a slower driver that Lewis or were there any reasons why he was slower? If it’s just a case that he’s slower, why was he kept in the team for so long – what was said? Were Mercedes unhappy about his performances or is that something that’s only started happening now that his lack of pace and racecraft is a negative rather than a positive?

    2. Like a footballer on loan, you need to try your best for your current contracted team, no matter the feelings.

      1. But like a footballer on loan, you can fall out with your team, become demotivated and lose form. I’ve seen plenty of players on loan not giving their all towards the end of a loan spell when they’re not happy.

  3. I lol’ed at Max ruining the fastest lap plan with Bottas the first try. That was absolutely brilliant. Letting Bottas past then catching back up and asking for blue’s. He then drove past Bottas and the chance was gone. They had to do another stop and he only got one shot on the last lap. Amazing how Max has the capacity to play these games while managing tyres and driving off into the distance one everyone.

  4. yeah, not your lucky decade bottas. They should have let bottas go last year, what a wasted year for mercedes, they could have won the constructors at least with George. Lewis is old, he should have quit this year already and not emberras himself next year against russel.

    1. Indeed. Bottas’ performances in 2019 and 2020 were nothing great either and were a step lower than 2017 and 2018. Mercedes, in the face of Hamilton contract discussion delays last year, I feel blinked too early and gave Bottas an extension.

      What Mercedes should have done is use their time in the 2020 lockdown to get Hamilton negotiations out of the way (Like Ferrari-Sainz, Ricciardo-Mclaren did). Then, they could have had the luxury of negotiating with Russell and Bottas throughout the season and choosing the best one.

    2. They still have a good chance to win the constructors this year based on how Perez usually performs

    3. Why should hamilton run from russell? Then we can really assess how good hamilton is, when he has a strong driver on the same car.

    4. What utter rubbish. If Lewis is ‘old’ why is he still at Mercedes and why have they resigned him. If he is old then what are Kimi and Fernando?

      Stupid comment.

      1. By ‘old’ I meant he doesn’t have the same agility as before, he is too comfortable at the moment and he understood that he can’t beat Max after Silverstone. Time to give the way to young bloods.

        BTW, I root for mercedes, and was fan of hamilton up until now, I think he should retire before he emberrasses himself like Rossi (am also Rossi fan).

        1. the championship’s not over yet. will you still think he’s “old” if he wins the championship?

          it’s still wide open you know. he doesnt’ even have to win every race

  5. It was super dull.

    I’m a Lewis fan but don’t mind max winning, it wasn’t even close today.

    However normally when there’s nothing happening in the top 2-3 there’s exciting racing elsewhere and there was just nothing happening anywhere.

    Is it the track or the fact nearly everyone started on the mediums I don’t know.

    1. Think it’s the track, it tends to build huuuuuge gaps, check 2018, I remember well!

  6. Ricciardo really sabotaged bottas this race, taking both out wasn’t enough, also keeping him behind all race, joking ofc but he played an important role, also in the constructor’s.

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