Bottas says Ferrari straightline speed advantage "weird"
Mercedes Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas says it is weird how Ferrari "always" seems to gain half a second on the straights no matter the circuit layout.
Ferrari appears to have overtaken Mercedes as F1's engine benchmark but also has a different aerodynamic philosophy to its rival that prioritises a higher top speed at the expense of more downforce.
That has given it better straightline speed performance this year but so far Mercedes has been able to overcome that with superior pace through the corners.
After Charles Leclerc claimed pole for Ferrari at the Austrian Grand Prix, Mercedes said Bottas was losing 0.6s on the straights and Lewis Hamilton, with a tow, was losing 0.3s.
Bottas said: "I think it's the number of straights you know - the main straight, into Turn 3 and Turn 4 are pretty decent straights, and even after Turn 7 it's a decent run into the last two corners.
"It doesn't seem to matter how long or short the track is, they always make the same gains on the straights. It's weird. Maybe the type of corners? Maybe we're not making enough of a difference there.
"I don't know whether they've had any improvements on the car but like I say we are still quicker on the corners."
Leclerc said after qualifying that a different set-up approach had unlocked more speed for Ferrari through the corners at the Red Bull Ring.
When asked by Motorsport.com if the performance here compounded his belief that Ferrari's straightline speed advantage was rooted in its engine rather than any aero differences, Bottas said: "I'm pretty sure that a lot of it is power unit.
"Maybe they are more efficient on the straights with the aero at this track and we have a bit more downforce.
"We're faster in the corners but like in Monaco they were still gaining half a second on the straights and they're not long there.
"It seems like it is always half a second whether it's a long straight or a short straight. So I think it's the power as well."
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said the Austrian circuit's layout did not suit his team as well as Ferrari, but felt the opposition had "done a decent job in their cornering performance" as well.
Asked by Motorsport.com if Mercedes had any theories to explain Ferrari's consistent gains on the straights, as Bottas had observed, Wolff said: "No, I think at the moment they have just shown in this pattern that their power unit is very powerful.
"I would rather look at our own shortcomings wherever they are and try to optimise the package before trying to look at other teams."
However, Wolff did reiterate that Ferrari's engine is "clearly the most powerful on the grid".
"No doubt about that," he said. "Did it give them the advantage [in qualifying]? Yes it did. Lewis, with his instinctive reaction in trying to get himself a tow, which then compromised him the rest of the lap, he lost 'only' three tenths to Ferrari.
"Valtteri, who maybe didn't benefit from as much of a tow, although he was running behind Leclerc, lost six tenths on the straights. Whatever the number is, we're losing it on the straights."
Russell to start Austrian GP from the pitlane
Gasly: Some of the criticism is "not deserved"