Mercedes: Bottas' slow start likely down to grip, not clutch

Mercedes believes the poor start that Valtteri Bottas felt cost him victory in Formula 1’s Spanish Grand Prix was caused by a lack of grip, not a car problem.

Mercedes: Bottas' slow start likely down to grip, not clutch

Bottas reported some “strange” clutch behaviour immediately after Sunday’s race, having crucially lost his pole position advantage to teammate Lewis Hamilton at the first corner. 

He said the team was still investigating the start on Sunday evening, and while Mercedes will continue to take “a good look” at it this week the team believes it was simply a matter of grip. 

In the team’s latest post-race video debrief, Mercedes sporting director Ron Meadows said: “We believe it was just a lack of grip on the pole position side. 

“If you look at the support races, more often that not the second position guy or even third or fourth had a better start than the pole guy.”

Trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said: “Yeah, that’s one of the elements. 

“You get a bit of wheelspin and then the wheels are slipping, the clutch is slipping, there’s a bit of an interaction. 

“We’re going to get all the bits and have a good look at them anyway this week to understand it. 

“At the moment we think the number one issue is with the grip and not an issue with the car.”

Bottas felt that unlike in the Chinese Grand Prix, when he also made a poor start and lost victory to Hamilton as a result, he had done nothing wrong in Spain.

He said after Sunday’s race that China was “a bit more my own fault” but that this time he “wouldn’t do anything different”. 

Despite having some wheelspin on a practice start that gave “hints” of the behaviour he experienced at the race start, Bottas insisted “I’ve never had this kind of feeling before”. 

“We can definitely see the vibration on the clutch and the abnormal behaviour, which cost me that few crucial metres on the way to Turn 1,” said Bottas.

“I kind of felt it just by G-force, it was going up and down, and the whole car was vibrating, and we can already see from the data that because of that my hand and the car was vibrating as well. 

“It was with very high friction, biting and releasing, so I lost quite a few metres with that in the initial part. The rest of the start was pretty good.”

shares
comments
Ferrari: Quick fix possible for "obvious" SF90 weaknesses

Previous article

Ferrari: Quick fix possible for "obvious" SF90 weaknesses

Next article

Magnussen tops second morning of Barcelona F1 test

Magnussen tops second morning of Barcelona F1 test
Load comments
Why Alfa's boss is up to the task of securing a stronger F1 future Prime

Why Alfa's boss is up to the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Motorsport.com in an exclusive interview

How Barnard's revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Prime

How Barnard's revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbon fibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Prime

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Wind tunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as Pat Symonds explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics.

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Prime

Why Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. Stuart Codling weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising.

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021
Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Prime

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021
What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight Prime

What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight

Formula 1 has been tracking car performance using timing loops mounted every 200m around each circuit – to the extent that it was able to anticipate Ferrari’s 'surprise’ pole in Monaco. PAT SYMONDS explains what this means for this season and beyond

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with Prime

The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with

OPINION: After consecutive street races with contrasting highlights, one theme stood out which has become a prevalent issue with modern Formula 1 cars. But is there a way to solve it or, at least, reach a happy middle ground to help all parties?

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The changes behind a 'feel-good' F1 result in Baku Prime

The changes behind a 'feel-good' F1 result in Baku

OPINION: The Azerbaijan Grand Prix had elements that make Formula 1 really exciting – unpredictability and shock results. This resulted in heartbreak for several of the championship’s regular contenders and joy for others who rarely reach the ultimate limelight. And one of those on the Baku podium is riding a wave of form he’s keen to continue

Formula 1
Jun 9, 2021