Valtteri Bottas concedes he is all but out of the title race after failing to finish the Eifel Grand Prix despite leading the first part of the race.
Fresh from a win in Russia, Bottas took pole position at the Nurburgring and showed impressive fight to hold off Lewis Hamilton at the start after they went side-by-side into Turn 1 (pictured above). However, a mistake on Lap 12 allowed Hamilton to take the lead before Bottas then suffered a loss of power from a suspected MGU-H failure that leaves him 69 points adrift of his teammate.
“It’s disappointing, of course — just very, very disappointing — but it’s one of these things you cannot do anything about,” Bottas said. “Obviously, I also had the lock-up before that but, still, I still had all the chances to win, because that made me go into a two-stopper quite early and I think two-stops, in the end, was the best strategy.
“I knew there was still all to play for even after that lock-up in the drizzle, but then came the engine thing and I couldn’t believe it. I understand the gap to Lewis is now pretty big in the points, so I would definitely need a miracle, but, as always, there’s no point in giving up, I have to keep the bar high for me and keep trying. It’s just disappointing — that’s the best word.”
Although he lost the lead through his own mistake, Bottas was less frustrated about his error at Turn 1 as he felt the conditions played a big part and gave the following cars an advantage.
“For the lock-up I think the main cause was the drizzle. I really felt less grip under braking and immediately started to lock up. Of course I was the first car approaching that corner, so for sure Lewis pretty quickly saw that I had a lock-up and I’m sure he reacted to it. But that’s how it goes in tricky conditions.”
With Hamilton praising Bottas’ aggressiveness on the opening lap, the Finn says that is the main highlight of the race that he can take confidence from.
“It was good fun. I think Lewis got a better first jump off the line — he got a bit of a better getaway, so that allowed him to get to the inside into Turn 1 and I knew the best thing for me was to brake as late as I could to try and still stay in front. I think he braked really late and got a bit of understeer, going wide, but I wasn’t going to give that position up easily. So I just decided to go for it from the outside and I’m glad I managed to keep the position by going on the inside for the second corner.”