Valtteri Bottas says the Canadian Grand Prix shows Mercedes needs its engine update as soon as possible after being unable to challenge Sebastian Vettel.
The Ferrari driver led away from pole position and eased to a comfortable victory at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, with Bottas unable to get within striking distance as Vettel eventually finished 7.3 seconds clear. Mercedes had been due to introduce a power unit upgrade in Montreal but a “quality issue” saw it pushed back until the French Grand Prix, and Bottas says the Ferrari advantage highlights the importance of receiving the new engine.
“We need it definitely,” Bottas said. “[Sunday] showed that we are not quick enough. We definitely need it and we are going to get for the next race so that’s good.
“Since lap one really [Ferrari] seemed to be a bit quicker all the time and they could control the race and were really pushing on it and we got into a little bit of trouble in the end, running out of fuel; that’s why Max [Verstappen] got close in the end.
“I think this was the maximum. [Qualifying] was about hundredths of a second, so maybe from pole it could have been different, but from P2 we maxed out. I’m happy for that but I’m not happy that we were behind.”
Another area where Mercedes seemed to be lacking was tire compounds, with the team picking just five sets of hypersofts for each driver for the whole weekend. That meant both drivers first ran the hypersofts in FP3, and while Bottas believes there was more to come in qualifying given extra sets, he doubts it would have had a major impact on race performance.
“I honestly think – and we do as a team – that if we would have chosen one or two sets more of the hypers, potentially we could have extracted a tiny bit more out of those in qualifying because it was quite limited running for us.
“We only had one set in practice three and then through qualifying we really had to learn quickly how to get the best out of the tires in one lap in such a close qualifying, being 0.09s behind pole. It’s easy to say afterwards but potentially if we could come here again we would chose maybe one set more at least of the hypers.
“I think, for the race, we made the right decision. We were happy with the tire we started on and with the strategy we had, so that was all good. It was just a question of the qualifying performance. We need to make sure we learn if we find that for sure we had to do something different.”