Bahrain GP: Bottas Opposed Mercedes’ F1 Qualifying Strategy

Published 03/28/2021, 3:30 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas after qualifying in third place Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron


The battle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton deservedly stole the show in Bahrain on Saturday. It was great fun to see two of the best drivers on the grid trying to outpace each other. But one person who, perhaps, would have wanted a bigger say in qualifying was Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas.

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The Finn had a good qualifying no doubt and will start the race in P3. However, Bottas can’t help but feel it was another strategy call by his team that didn’t allow him a chance to catch his teammate, if not Max.

The nine-time Grand Prix winner was not happy to have gotten a different strategy to that of Lewis and Max. The Finn got two sets of softs to use in Q1 but had to make do with just a single set in Q3. This meant he got only one lap on fresh tires, unlike the other two drivers.

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Speaking post-qualifying, he said, “First of all, the practice this afternoon was quite tricky. I didn’t really find a good balance with the car, so it made more chances for the qualifying.

“The first run of qualifying, actually felt OK. But the lap time wasn’t quite there, so we went again with the new tyres in Q1, which I kind of disagreed, we basically wasted a tyre set. So in Q3, I only had one run with the new tyres. It was not really an optimal qualifying for me.”

Valtteri Bottas optimistic of Mercedes F1’s chances in Sunday

Despite not having a Mercedes on Pole, Bottas still feels that the Silver Arrows hold the advantage. Pointing out to the fact that they have two cars against one, he believes it gives them a tactical advantage over Red Bull and Verstappen.

The Finn said, “Throughout the qualifying, the pace really, my confidence within the car and the feeling with the car and understanding of the wind was improving. So it was getting better and better.

Formula One F1. Bahrain Grand Prix. Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in action during practice REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

“At least now we have two cars in top three. So I’m sure we can do something good with that.”

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The season opener is definitely set up to be a mouthwatering prospect. Qualifying has already lived up to fans’ expectations, delivering quite some drama through all three sessions.

What will the race in Bahrain have in store for us? Can Verstappen start the season off with a win? Or will a Mercedes car come out on top? Tune in to the Bahrain Grand Prix to find out.

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DIVE DEEPER

Bahrain GP: Lewis Hamilton Expected Mercedes to Be Nearly a Second Slower Than Red Bull

about 2 months ago

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Ronan Carvalho

1015 articles

Ronan Carvalho is senior F1 author for Essentiallysports. Ronan is currently pursuing his Journalism degree from St. Xavier's College.

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