(Motorsport-Total.com) – Valtteri Bottas has come a new contract with the Mercedes team for the Formula 1 season 2020 a “good move” closer. That is at least the statement of team boss Toto Wolff after a basically strong, but ultimately unfortunate performance of the Finn at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone .
Toto Wolff is expected to continue with Valtteri Bottas in 2020 Zoom
“He beats Lewis Hamilton in qualifying at Silverstone and is on the pole, he leads the race and defends himself in a spectacular way,” praised Wolff. “They change positions and he loses the race because the safety car leaves at the wrong time, which is really tough, but both deserved to win today, which is important to say.”
Concretely speaking on the subject of a contract extension, Wolff emphasizes: “I think he took a good step today, which for me was his best performance in a race this year.” Bottas will “not give up”, the Austrian believes, and has “everything it takes to beat Lewis in qualifying […] that’s really important to the team.”
The race at Silverstone could have won Bottas as well. In lap 15, he drove a hitherto fastest lap of 1: 30.631 minutes, increasing his lead over Hamilton to 1.4 seconds. On lap 17, when he had free time after Bottas’ stop, Hamilton put on 1: 30.236 minutes. On lap 18, Bottas Hamilton again took 0.6 seconds.
The safety car broke Bottas’s race
The pit stop delta is around 19.5 seconds in Silverstone. Bottas had before the safety car phase but only 17.3 seconds behind his teammate. “I controlled the pit-stop distance and was effectively in the lead,” he says. “Until the safety car came and Lewis got his pit stop.”
Just a few seconds before the activation of the safety car due to the departure of Antonio Giovinazzi, Hamilton got the tactic that they would try to extend the first stint as long as possible. When switched from yellow flag to safety car, Hamilton was already in the third sector.
Both he and the team responded to the spirit and immediately came to the tire change, as did Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen. Bitter from Bottas point of view: Hamilton was now not only with the fresher tires in front of him, but also had to complete no pit stop. He already, because he had changed from medium to medium.
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“I thought I had everything under control,” he sighs. “I was committed to the two-stop strategy, which in hindsight was a mistake, we thought that two stops were the fastest by far – but it was also possible to stop.” And not only that: Hamilton set the fastest time of the race with a 32-lap-old Hard on the very last lap.
Hamilton’s original plan was different: “I did not want to come in on lap 21, but see how long I can stay outside, but I still had to drive reasonably fast because he had new tires and was faster at the time from 0.7 to 1.5 seconds, it was not in my window anymore. “
“Then it was almost two seconds, and then I knew I would have to come in soon, but then the safety car came in. Normally I would have come out two seconds behind him and had the tires five or six laps older “Hamilton says,” He was very fast on the way, it would not have been easy. “
What has overslept in the hectic safety car phase: In retrospect, it would have been the wisest to catch up even Bottas directly again and to convert from medium to hard. So he would have lost a position against Vettel, but he could have overtaken the Ferrari probably on the track.
Safety Car: Why Bottas was not brought back
Then Bottas would have had the chance in the finish to attack Hamilton in a direct duel. Wolff said there were “two arguments against it: First, we were not convinced that we could go through to the finish, so we split our strategies, and then he would have come out behind Sebastian.”
The duel in the first laps, Hamilton enthuses, was “mega”: “I already had it in Turn 7, but suddenly it was inside, I could not see it when accelerating out of the car, because it was in my blind spot I do not close the door to risk anything, he drove sensationally. “
Bottas also takes quite positive findings from Silverstone with: “In qualifying, I was the fastest man on the track.The race pace today was also good, we had a great fight.” Even though he misses 39 points in the World Cup: “I’m still super hungry and will try again in two weeks!”
Wolff thinks that Bottas had a “great” race at Silverstone: “Today, both deserved the win, the strategy and the safety car went against him, which was just bad luck.” Hamilton, added the team boss, had been in his home Grand Prix in impressive form: “But it could just as well have been different.”
Nevertheless, Wolff has to admit, “When Valtteri was behind the stop after Lewis and had the medium, which was a bit older than the hard of Lewis, it was clear that Valtteri must come again.” I do not really want to judge, but In the phase, it looked like Lewis was on fire today. “
Bottom line remains: Bottas has proven that he can pick up the important points for the Constructors’ Championship at any time and challenge Hamilton. That’s exactly what Mercedes expects from him. At the same time Wolff has told Esteban Ocon that he will not put any obstacles in the way of a team change.
It now indicates very much that the Mercedes team in 2020 will be called Hamilton Bottas.