Bottas reveals why he slowed close to end of Austrian GP

Mercedes Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas says he wasn't trying to back teammate Lewis Hamilton into the pack at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Bottas reveals why he slowed close to end of Austrian GP

In the closing laps of the race Hamilton was running second when he was handed a five-second penalty for his clash with Alex Albon, and he was thus desperate to stay sufficiently clear of his immediate pursuers.

However he had to run at the pace of race leader Bottas immediately ahead, as given the fraught circumstances of the final laps Mercedes opted not to issue orders and ask the Finn to let Hamilton through to build a gap. 

Bottas dropped his pace significantly on the 70th of 71 laps before picking it up again, and after the flag fell Hamilton was demoted to fourth place by Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris, both of whom stayed close enough to be within the five-second margin.

Asked why his penultimate lap was 2.5s off the pace that he had been running, before he sped up again on the final lap, Bottas said that he was preparing for a final assault on the fastest lap bonus point.

A yellow flag for the Daniil Kvyat incident also played a part.

"When you're in the lead you of course want to minimise any risk," he said. "And you obviously have to slow down at least half a second and ideally more for double yellows. So I did that.

"And then I also knew that there's going to be an opportunity to try and go for the fastest lap of the race, which would be silly not to, even though we couldn't use the kerbs, but at least to try within the limits. So I was charging the pack as well."

Read Also:

Hamilton insisted that he trusted Bottas not to have slowed him down deliberately.

"I just saw Valtteri just now," said the world champion. "And honestly I know Valtteri better than probably a lot of other people, being that we've worked so closely over these last few years, and that's not something that was on my mind and something that I would ever think that he would do.

"I know that he wouldn't do something like that, he's a pure racer and wants to win through pure, merit. And I believe that when he says that, even though he doesn't need to say that."

Bottas also insisted that there is "no tension" with Hamilton after an eventful weekend.

Prior to the race battle in qualifying Hamilton's final run in Q3 was compromised when Bottas – who was already on pole after the first runs – went off in front of him.

Hamilton earned second place, but he was subsequently demoted to fifth for a yellow flag offence at the scene of his team mate's excursion.

Bottas admitted that there had been an unfortunate set of circumstances over the weekend, but stressed that the air had been cleared with his team mate.

"There are incidents and unlucky events," he said. "And I'm sure you all know that in F1 many things can happen and sometimes things just go the way they go.

"And we just had a debrief, a very open talk about everything. We went through the race in terms of my point of view and Lewis's point of view and the team's point of view, and there is no tension that I'm aware of.

"He is pretty experienced, Lewis, in this sport, so he knows things can happen. So no tension. But we had a good team result in the end.

"Obviously it could have been better, maybe. But we're still leading the constructors' and I won the race, so it could have been a lot worse start to the season."

shares
comments

Related video

Webber: "Empty" Vettel shows Ferrari relationship is over

Previous article

Webber: "Empty" Vettel shows Ferrari relationship is over

Next article

Why is it called the Styrian Grand Prix? Second Austrian F1 race explained

Why is it called the Styrian Grand Prix? Second Austrian F1 race explained
Load comments
The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career Prime

The F1 champion who became an Indy king in his second career

Emerson Fittipaldi’s decision to go racing with his brother led to him falling out of F1, but he bloomed again on the IndyCar scene. NIGEL ROEBUCK considers a career of two halves

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Prime

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall...

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Prime

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

Formula 1
Jul 30, 2021
The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Prime

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed.

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Prime

How Lotus uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Prime

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't Prime

How Ferrari offered Callum Ilott what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says Oleg Karpov, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Prime

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says Mark Gallagher, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors.

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021