Mercedes Explain the “Damage” on Valtteri Bottas’ Car During the Portguese Grand Prix

Published 10/29/2020, 11:46 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Eifel Grand Prix – Nurburgring, Nurburg, Germany – Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas during a press conference after qualifying FIA/Handout via REUTERS


In a 2020 Portuguese GP F1 race debrief, Mercedes’ Technical Director James Alison answered some questions about the race weekend Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton. James answered fans’ questions from around the social media world on tricky starts, tire choices, and much more.

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James also talked about the damage sustained by Valtteri Bottas’ car that was picked up on the world feed during the race. The observant Formula 1 fans wanted some answers. James explained the car damage, what it was, and whether it had any effect on Valtteri’s performance.

He explained, ” It was lever panels which are cooling exits on the top of the side pots near the radiator exits.” He further added, “It had come loose and it was flapping around a bit on some of the bodywork tapes. It is a pretty small thing and didn’t cause him any significant loss of performance.”

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James on Valtteri Bottas being given the same tires as Lewis

Valtteri Bottas mentioned during the race that he wanted the opposite tire strategy to Lewis. He was still given the same tires.

James explained that Mercedes started their race on the Medium, which meant a longer first stint with those tires. He further explained that to get the best out of starting from Medium, they had to opt for a one-stop strategy.

Formula One F1 – Eifel Grand Prix – Nurburgring, Nurburg, Germany – October 10, 2020 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas poses as he celebrates after qualifying in pole position. Pool via REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

James explained, ” The only option for us that we seriously had on the table to manage the one-stop strategy was to go medium and then hard.” However, the medium tire went on to support the car quite deep into the race.

This provided an opportunity to finish the race on the soft tires. Initially, the team had expected soft tires to do around 16 laps. However, other teams had done a consistent 20 plus laps with the soft tire.

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The teams were wrestling with the choice between hard and soft tire. Meanwhile, they noticed that other teams were using hard tires really well. At the moment, Mercedes saw enough evidence that the hard tire was performing better than the soft ones.

James further explained, ” So when Lewis came in we chose the hard tires. When Valtteri came in he gave a preference to soft to go opposite of lewis hoping to roll a lucky dice.” James then clarified that Valtteri was denied the soft ones. This was because the team believed that he was better protected by hard tires.

Valtteri wanted to take a chance with his tire strategy to take a shot at beating Lewis. He won the opening race of the 2020 season in Austria. However, has only managed to beat Lewis once since then, at Sochi. Whereas, Hamilton has managed to win 8 races already. With 5 races remaining, Valtteri Bottas will certainly be looking to get some more wins under his belt.

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Ayush Manjunath

580 articles

Ayush Manjunath is a Formula 1 author for EssentiallySports with more than 500 articles to his name. A Law graduate and a current Sports Management student, Ayush also has a certificate from UCLA on Sports, Media and Entertainment Management. He has an undying love for motorsports and lives to see Max Verstappen, George Russell, Charles Leclerc, and Lando Norris battle for the championship one day!

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