Bottas: Eifel GP win possible despite Turn 1 lock-up
October 14, 2020
Valtteri Bottas reckons a race win in the Eifel GP was still on the cards despite a Turn 1 lock-up that handed the lead to Lewis Hamilton.
From pole position, Bottas fought wheel-to-wheel at the start to maintain his edge over his Mercedes teammate but a mistake on lap 13 handed the lead to Hamilton, forcing the Finn into an early tyre change.
The activation of the Virtual Safety Car left Bottas far behind Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, after which a power unit issue – apparently related to an MGU-H failure – put paid to his efforts.
In hindsight, Bottas is convinced he could have challenged Hamilton for victory as his early stop had put him on a beneficial two-stop strategy.
“I had all the chance for the win, because that made me commit to a two-stop quite early, and I think a two-stop at the end was the best strategy,” Bottas explained.
“I knew there was all to play for, even after that lock-up in the drizzle. Then the engine thing, I couldn’t believe it.”
While forecasts called for a dry race at the Nürburgring, a thin drizzle appeared briefly in the early stage of the race.
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“The lock-up, I think it was mainly the drizzle,” Bottas said.
“I really had less grip under braking and it was a really sudden lock-up. And of course, being the first car out there who is approaching that corner, I’m sure Lewis saw pretty quickly that I locked up, so I’m sure he had a chance to react.
“It was a mistake, but also in tricky conditions. When I stopped, and when I felt the tyres were starting to work, and when I got past Ricciardo, I thought it can still be really good, and at least I knew I was committed to two-stop.
“The VSC, maybe it was a bit unlucky for me, because the others had a free stop. In any case, there would still have been opportunities.”
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