Mercedes had a great start to the 2021 season as they had two drivers finishing on the podium in the Bahrain GP. Lewis Hamilton managed to defend his P1 from Max Verstappen who tried his best to overtake him. Although, he did manage to overtake him in the 53rd lap, he had to give the lead back due to the FIA Rules.
Valtteri Bottas was not a happy man after the race despite finishing third. He felt that his team were on the defensive side with him and were passive throughout the race. He hoped to stay out there longer in the second part of the race, but was brought in to the pit stops, in order to pressurize Max Verstappen from doing the same. Moreover a 10-second pit stop-mishap compromised his race and he was no longer in contention to win the race.
Jenson Button, 2009 F1 champion with McLaren believes although Bottas was slower than Hamilton, yet he was used as a pawn by Mercedes.
“I think his pace compared to Lewis was a little bit off,” Button told Sky Sports. “That always hurts when you see your team-mate pulling off into the distance. And he was also used as a little bit of a pawn during the race so Max would follow his lead during pit stops,” the former F1 champion said.
Bottas unhappy with his team’s strategy
Valtteri Bottas had stated before the start of the season that he would be more selfish and demanding from his team. He blast out at his team’s strategy on Sunday which cost him dearly and left him out of contention for the top two places.
“From my side the strategy was too much on the defensive side instead of attacking, which I was quite surprised of,” Bottas said. “We will review everything, but I feel we were more passive than aggressive with the strategy in the end. I wanted to stay out longer in the middle stint on fresher tyres but it wouldn’t have made much difference in the end,” he added.
Former driver, Paul di Resta believes that by speaking out against Mercedes’ poor tactics, he has put pressure on the German team to deliver better results for the Finnish driver. “Bottas was very vocal about it,” he said. “That’s going to put pressure on the team,” he said to Skysports.