Tyre wear hurt Bottas podium charge

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Tyre wear hurt Bottas podium charge

November 29, 2019 | News | No Comments

Valtteri Bottas thinks tyre wear on his Williams FW38 cost him a shot at challenging Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen for the podium at the Russian Grand Prix.

Starting from the front row on the supersoft compound, Bottas was caught out by his fellow Finn at the start but quickly re-claimed his position after an early Safety Car period.

Despite intense pressure from the Ferrari and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, the Williams driver managed to hold his ground until his first and only pit stop of the race. Having switched to the soft tyre, Bottas was then quickly overhauled by both Hamilton and Raikkonen and finished a distant fourth, nearly 20 seconds off the podium positions.

“In the end, [our rivals’] tyre wear was so much better that their full stint pace was better,” Bottas said. “I think we did the right thing stopping early – in fact the tyre wear was kicking in, the tyres were really starting to go and there was a maximum of one extra lap in the tyres – but we lost a bit with the tyre wear today.

“It’s a shame, because we wanted more as a team and, of course, me too. When you start from the front row, you want more but this was the maximum we could do with the pace we had.

“In the first stint I could still keep Kimi and Lewis behind but in the second stint the pace difference was too big. I think that, even if I had kept them behind for longer, it would have been just a mater of time before they would have got through.”

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Combined with Felipe Massa’s fifth-place finish, Bottas’ P4 allows Williams, which had several upgrades in Sochi, to close the gap to Red Bull in the Constructors’ championship.

“It is definitively track related – we know it, that’s a fact – but we’ll see in Barcelona,” the 26-year-old further commented. “We made a step forward here, but I think it will be a very close battle with Red Bull.

“It’s a long season and even small developments will help. It should be a tight battle but I think my season really starts from here. It was quite a positive weekend, so hopefully we’ll have many good results to come from now on.”

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