Valtteri Bottas describes his poor weekend at the Canadian Grand Prix as “a wake-up call” if he wants to fight for the drivers’ championship this year.
Mercedes finished one-two in each of the first five races, before Bottas had to settle for third in Monaco after picking up a puncture in pit lane contact with Max Verstappen. Canada marked the first time a Mercedes hasn’t finished on the podium this year as Bottas struggled in qualifying and was limited to fourth in the race, and he admits the lost points could prove costly.
“Honestly, I didn’t feel it was that difficult,” Bottas said. “I still felt really good in Q1 and Q2. From Q2 I had a clear idea where to improve and how to improve and I was really confident.
“But it really came down to the silly mistake in Q3 and that led to me losing quite a lot of points, which is obviously annoying and I cannot really afford many of this type of weekends if I want to fight for the title.
“It’s not ideal so maybe it’s a bit of a wake-up call again; for sure I can always learn from it. For me the thoughts are already on the French Grand Prix.”
Bottas took a while to climb through the field after dropping to seventh on the opening lap in Canada, but says his early pace in traffic was not reflective of his true performance level.
“For sure I can’t be too satisfied with P4. At least I made up a couple of places and also got the extra point for the fastest lap — that is positive. The beginning of the race was tougher than what I was hoping for. I lost one position after being boxed in in Turn 2, then there was a bit of a train of cars with DRS in the beginning and I was quite a bit limited by engine overheating and also brake overheating, so I couldn’t really get close enough to push past.
“I was kind of just waiting for the opportunities and eventually they all boxed. By the time they stopped I had already lost a lot of time to the top three cars and then I was OK in clean air. It was OK, no big issues — the second stint felt quick but everything came down to what happened (in qualifying). That’s how it is.”