‘No Other Option’: Mercedes Defends Strategic Calls on Bottas After His Complaints

Published 03/29/2021, 7:24 AM EDT
LE CASTELLET, FRANCE: Second place qualifier Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP looks on in parc ferme during qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of France at Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)


While Lewis Hamilton was basking in his phenomenal win, his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, was sulking at a perceived strategic error from the team. The Finn wasn’t particularly happy with how his race played out. However, Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff believes that they could not have done anything differently.

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So, he defended the Mercedes tactical unit in the aftermath of the race-

“I think there wasn’t any strategy on the table. Because we tried to undercut also with Valtteri that I think would change the race for him or make his race not.”

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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 15: Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff looks on in the Team Principals Press Conference during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of Australia at Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

In some ways, the situation around Bottas also left the team with little choice. Firstly, he dropped to fourth on the opening lap. And when he did overtake Leclerc, his pace in comparison to Hamilton and Verstappen simply wasn’t there.

Although he did have a chance to undercut Verstappen with his second pit stop, the wheel gun problem did not alloow him to do so. It halted him for over 10 seconds and was the final nail in the coffin for him.

“And then I don’t know what other strategy we could have run. The one stop was clearly not possible. The Medium wouldn’t have made it to the end, the Hard in the middle stage was running out of performance. There was no other option available,” explained Toto Wolff.

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The Finn could not hide his frustration after the race. There were suggestions from Jenson Button that Mercedes used him as a ‘pawn’ for Lewis Hamilton.

“From my side, at least for me and strategy-wise we went defensive side instead of attacking, which I’m quite surprised by and it’s not quite normal,” said Bottas.

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SUZUKA, JAPAN – Race winner Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP celebrates with Mercedes GP Executive Director Toto Wolff after the F1 Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka Circuit in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Charles Coates/Getty Images)

Toto Wolff sympathized with him but was firm in his belief that the team couldn’t have anything else to change the result of his race. According to him, Bottas’ feelings could be down to a lack of information.

“I totally understand the frustration in the car when you have limited information and say, ‘I think we could have done something else.'”

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We saw the Finn going in-depth into his battle with Hamilton in the recent Drive to Survive series. It is not easy for him and the pressure might be getting to him.

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Bharat Aggarwal

757 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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