The Italian Grand Prix was kind of topsy-turvy for Mercedes. They were leading with Lewis Hamilton at the top and Valtteri Bottas somewhere in the Top-10. However, Hamilton finished 7th due to a stop/go penalty while Bottas finished 5th. Early in the race, Bottas was seen struggling with his car and was keeping pace off the race.
James Vowles, Motorsports Strategy Director, and Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director, discussed the Italian Grand Prix taking questions via various social media outlets.
Out of these, one such question asked them to throw light on the issue behind Valtteri’s struggles in the race.
Shovlin took the opportunity to answer the query. He mentioned two possible reasons behind Bottas’ struggles. “One was that the power unit was getting pretty hot and we hadn’t expected in traffic to really see such a reduction in the cooling.
“So he was getting warnings on his dash and you’ll have heard us talking to him asking him just to pull out to the side and get a bit of clean air through the car.
“So that made life a bit tricky for him but then also the tires were getting hot because when you’re in traffic you got less downforce, the car slides around more and then you get a reduction in grip. So that was one of the other factors,” he answered.
However, speculations were quite high regarding an alleged tire puncture or damage due to impact. The entire thought came down to the cooling unit when data revealed that the car was working fine.
“Now early on in the race though he thought he had a puncture that was from some contact from the start. We also wondered whether there was a bit of damage to the floor or something that might’ve been impacting it.
“But having looked at the data coming off the car on those first few laps we could see that was actually okay. It was just really down to the cooling on the power unit and the heating up of the tires in traffic.
“But, as the race went on you saw it wasn’t just Valtteri struggling with that. It was actually most of the cars were finding it very difficult to get through any of the cars at all.”