Valtteri Bottas says a combination of bad luck and the wrong strategy cost him victory in the British Grand Prix, where he finished second to teammate Lewis Hamilton.
Pole-sitter Bottas held off Hamilton in a close battle during the opening stint, the pair swapping positions at one stage before the Finn pitted first. Hamilton then ran long on a different strategy and was able to switch to hard tires during a Safety Car period while retaining the lead, while Bottas still had to pit again and was limited to second place.
“It was maybe not my luckiest day, but that’s life,” Bottas said. “Obviously Lewis drove well, he’s got massive support here, so congrats for the win. But obviously we had good racing at the beginning and I really enjoyed it – that’s why we are here, to race hard and fair. I’m sure Toto didn’t maybe enjoy it as much as we did, but it doesn’t matter.
“After my first stop I felt like it was under control. I was following the gap closely, the pit stop gap I had to Lewis, and I was just waiting for him to stop and obviously the Safety Car got him ahead of me at that point.
“I was stuck into a two-stop at that stage, because we stopped for the medium again from medium tires, so it meant I had to stop in the end, which was a mistake from our side. Two stops, we thought, would be by far the fastest, but actually one stop was possible as well. Not quite ideal, but one of these days…
“At least it felt like the pace was good, so there are positives to take. Also, really, really happy for us as a team, getting maximum points and it’s pretty impressive the gap to the teams behind now. So it makes me very, very proud of us. In any case, I’m still super-hungry for the win, so looking forward to doing it again in two weeks.”
While Bottas was committed to a two-stop by his first change of tires, he says the original plan was for Hamilton to also stop again even after switching to the hards later in the race.
“Definitely there was an idea to split the cars,” he said. “One of us going for the hard for the second stint, but still the idea was for that car to do medium-hard-medium or medium-hard-soft. So one stop honestly was out of the question, and was a mistake from our side. It was by far the quickest strategy for our car – the medium-hard – we thought it would be much slower so, for sure, a learning point for us.”