Valtteri Bottas was not in a very good mood after qualifying, and it was all thanks to Lewis Hamilton. According to the Finnish Mercedes driver, an unplanned overtake by Hamilton adversely affected his Q3 run.
As it turned out, Mercedes were battling tyre warming issues at the Marina Bay circuit. As a result, both drivers needed a faster out-lap in comparison with most of their rivals. So, ahead of his final Q3 run Bottas tried to maintain a gap. At the same time, he attempted to keep up sufficient speed to maintain tyre temperature. So, one could only imagine his surprise when Lewis Hamilton suddenly overtook him.
As a result, Bottas was forced to slow down even further to create another gap. This caused him to compromise his tyre temperature building. So, while he struggled for grip he could only muster fifth place, in spite of topping in Q1. Now, the Finn has confirmed that the incident was a topic of discussion in the team debrief.
“The first run there was lots of cars,” said a disappointed Valtteri Bottas. “All weekend we’ve been needing to have proper out-laps to get the tyres switched on, but I only got that in Q1. The first run in Q2 was also pretty OK, but after that always traffic affected.
“Then the last run was quite messy. No it was not planned [to swap positions]. I was slowing down because of the Red Bull ahead trying to get a bit of a gap, and I think Lewis didn’t know that there was a car ahead of me, he thought I’m just slowing down for fun.”
“Obviously it was incorrect and he got ahead, so then I had to slow down again. We’ve discussed that internally and tried to make sure of ways that it won’t happen again, basically. It was not the plan for sure.”
Bottas once again highlighted the need for fast out-laps in Singapore so that they would have clear air. He revealed that he could only enjoy the advantage of the grip in Q1 and Q2. His cause was not helped by a crash in FP1 on Friday, which led to handling issues in FP2.