Mercedes F1 Used Valtteri Bottas to Distract Verstappen in Bahrain GP: Button

Published 03/29/2021, 5:45 AM EDT
SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA – Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP prepares to drive in the garage during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)


Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas finished third in the opening race of the season in Bahrain. He was quite disappointed with the result and felt that the team’s strategy didn’t allow him to show his full potential. However, Jenson Button feels that the Finn’s own pace during the race was the reason behind his third-place finish.

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Bottas’s teammate, Lewis Hamilton was given more importance during the Grand Prix as he was fighting an intense battle with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen for the win in Bahrain. Hence the Silver Arrows couldn’t fully support the number 77  driver in the race.

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

The Brackley-based team leads the constructor’s championship with 41 points to their name. The team hopes to carry this momentum when they go Imola for the second race of the season.

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Valtteri Bottas used as a pawn, says Jenson Button

During a Sky Sports interview as quoted by PlanetF1, Button said, “I think his pace compared to Lewis was a little bit off. That always hurts when you see your teammate pulling off into the distance.

“And he was also used as a little bit of a pawn during the race so Max would follow his lead during pit stops.

Formula One F1 – Bahrain Grand Prix – Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain – March 27, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in action during practice REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

“It’s a little bit of tricky one [for him] because you know he’s going to be on the back foot in terms of the pit stops. But also the pace wasn’t quite there. It’s not been an easy race for him and I don’t think it fills him full of confidence for race two.

“That was the first time he’s looked unhappy with the way things have gone for the team.”

The Finn says that Mercedes had a defensive strategy

Bottas said, “From my side, the strategy was too much on the defensive side instead of attacking, which I was quite surprised of. We will review everything, but I feel we were more passive than aggressive with the strategy in the end.”

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

“I wanted to stay out longer in the middle stint on fresher tyres but it wouldn’t have made much difference in the end.” He concluded.

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Bottas will have his chance in Italy, where they will race in the second round for the 2021 championship.

Will he be able to make up the pace to Lewis Hamilton? We shall soon find out.

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Arpit Gomes

322 articles

Arpit Gomes is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Currently pursuing his Journalism degree from Xavier’s Institute, he is a big fan of McLaren and their driver Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. Arpit always looks forward to the paddock moving to Spa and drivers dealing with the exciting Eau Rouge corner as well the straight at Monza.

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