Mercedes F1 Obstruct Bottas’ Race Victory Hopes With Late Engine Change at Sochi

Published 09/26/2021, 5:31 AM EDT
Motor racing – Formula One – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 24, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas arrives at the circuit REUTERS/Anton Vaganov


The F1 grid layout for the Russian GP is going to be an interesting one. McLaren, Ferrari, and Williams start ahead of Hamilton, Verstappen, and Leclerc at the back of the grid; now, it looks like Valtteri Bottas is to start from the back. However, after his charge to the podium in Monza, Bottas’ ability to make it to the top is undeniable.

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The man who rules Sochi Autodrom, Bottas, was to start the race in seventh. What could also be considered a crafty strategic move on Mercedes’ part, Bottas will be four positions ahead of Max Verstappen. Impeding Verstappen’s race to the top, Bottas will be giving his teammate’s rival a hard time.

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With Latifi and Leclerc between the two drivers, Verstappen will undoubtedly have a tough time making it through some competitive traffic. While the straight to turn 2 will be testing for the drivers, the battle to gain position will be grueling.

Valtteri Bottas’ new PU

Team principal Toto Wolff had hinted at a strategic move on Saturday. “For Valtteri, we are still thinking about possible strategic decisions to be taken in the next hour or two on what the best and quickest race strategy could be for him.”

Lewis Hamilton had a shaky Q3 session on Saturday, putting him in P4. With Bottas in seventh, Mercedes was sure to be worried about their Sunday in Sochi. However, a master of the track, Bottas hoped to bag a win at the circuit; the Finn is yet to taste victory this season.

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Hoping to get a win for the team before he makes his exit, Bottas wanted to contribute to the championship. “It’s a big opportunity in the championship. It’s still a big opportunity for us to get a lot more points than Red Bull.”

Formula One F1 – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 25, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas during qualifying REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

Although the driver was starting seventh, he had his eyes on the victory. ” I really believe we can still fight for the win because based on the pace we had yesterday in the long runs if it’s dry race especially, we’ll be there or thereabouts. So yeah, should be an interesting race.”

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Now, with a 10-place drop, Bottas’ hopes for the victory seem to be a little different. However, Verstappen too needs the win. Will Bottas’ P7 sacrifice pay off?

Watch this story: Lewis Hamilton’s Incredible Car Collection

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Shreya Sanjeev

447 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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