Valtteri Bottas says he endured a disaster of a race in the Turkish Grand Prix because he took too many risks with nothing to lose in the championship fight against Lewis Hamilton.
Hamilton could afford to drop seven points to Bottas in Istanbul and still win the championship, with the Finn needing at the very least a top-six finish to have any hope of prolonging the fight to the next round in Bahrain. After spinning to avoid Esteban Ocon at Turn 1, Bottas then collided with the Renault later on the opening lap and suffered four further spins as he finished a lap down outside the points.
“It was a disaster of a race for me,” Bottas said. “Obviously I had the spin in the first corner, as I was avoiding one of the Renaults that had already spun, and then I had a collision in Turn 9. The car wasn’t right after that — I could feel the steering was pointing to the left when I was on a straight line and then the car was behaving different in left-side and right-side corners.
“So I think all those moments I had, it wasn’t like it should be. It was a messy race, a disastrous race — I was pushing as hard as I could, because there was nothing to lose for me, so when I dropped back I was still pushing as hard as I could. I made mistakes, and, for sure, with the damage, it all made it quite tricky, it could be the most difficult race I’ve ever had in Formula 1, and the result as well…”
Bottas says his mindset after his first spin was that he needed to gamble in order to make something happen in the race, with Hamilton running solidly in the points and ultimately going on to win.
“It started well — for the first 200 meters it was really great, but after Turn 1 I was really on the back foot, knowing that unless I made progress quickly, and be able to win the race, otherwise there was no chance for the championship, so I had to go for it. Obviously I attacked too much for the damaged car I had.
“For the future races, sure, there’s no pressure so let’s see if it makes any difference. I look forward to those races, in terms of trying to get a good result; more than that I’m looking forward to next year.”