Mercedes feared "instant kill" gearbox issue for Bottas

Valtteri Bottas says he managed to "dodge many bullets" en route to Austrian Grand Prix victory as Mercedes feared an early gearbox issue would turn into an "instant kill".

Mercedes feared "instant kill" gearbox issue for Bottas

Bottas led all 71 laps of the race in Austria to score victory in the 2020 season opener, but faced race-long pressure from Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, as well as managing recurring gearbox problems.

Mercedes' engineers were heard regularly warning Hamilton and Bottas to stay off the kerbs during the race, with the issue emerging early on.

"The situation was pretty serious, right away from the start," Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said when asked by Motorsport.com about the issues.

"We saw it started with issues on Valtteri's car, but it was something that can be an instant kill. Then it started on Lewis's car. We didn't really know what it was.

"We know that it was somehow linked to vibration and agitation of the car. That is why we advised them very early on to keep off the kerbs.

"At the certain stage, it looked like we would not finish the race with both cars. So we were trying to really cruise home."

Read Also:

Bottas felt comfortable in the lead until the late safety cars bunched the field, allowing the likes of Alexander Albon, Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris to all apply pressure from behind.

"Winning a Formula 1 grand prix is never easy, but today definitely didn't come easy at all," Bottas said.

"In the first stint, obviously Lewis lost a bit of time getting through the Red Bulls, but there was quite a bit of margin so the first stint wasn't actually that bad.

"I could really control and really make sure that we made it to the target stop lap, and try and do the right things with the tyres and do the right thing with the car.

"The second stint, there was never like massive pressure, because I was in front and I could really make sure I could make it to the end. There were all these variables in the race.

"We had these issues with some sensors that were getting damaged by the vibration of the pretty harsh kerbs here, so I had to avoid the kerbing, which obviously costs quite a bit of lap time.

"When you're in the lead, one safety car after another, but the last one I was like 'come on, again?', because in the lead you just want things to be constant and trouble-free.

"There were many variables. I managed to dodge many bullets today and get the win."

Bottas was able to perfect the race restart each time to keep Hamilton at bay behind, but admitted he ran close to the safety car in the final return to green flag running.

"I think I'm starting to master the restarts on this track because I had so many today," Bottas said.

"But you always try to do something different each time.

"I think the last one was a bit on the limit with the safety car line one, crossing with the safety car, but otherwise really good."

shares
comments
Hamilton penalty for Albon clash "too harsh", says Wolff

Previous article

Hamilton penalty for Albon clash "too harsh", says Wolff

Next article

Alfa Romeo fined for Raikkonen's wheel loss

Alfa Romeo fined for Raikkonen's wheel loss
Load comments
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Prime

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. Damien Smith brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1.

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Prime

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus Prime

How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Prime

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Prime

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says Stuart Codling.

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Prime

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences.

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Prime

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Prime

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021