until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

Formula 1

Despondent Bottas sees title ‘drifting away again’

by Scott Mitchell-Malm
3 min read

Valtteri Bottas can see the Formula 1 title “drifting away” after a disappointing Spanish Grand Prix and “just wants to be somewhere else than here” so he can regroup.

Bottas finished third at Barcelona after a poor start dropped him behind the Red Bull of Max Verstappen and Racing Point of Lance Stroll, and ensured he finished behind team-mate and world championship leader Lewis Hamilton for the fifth race in a row.

After winning the season opener in Austria last month, Bottas has slipped to 43 points behind Hamilton.

That gap is exaggerated by the late-race puncture that wrecked Bottas’s British GP, but he has also dropped valuable points by being beaten three times now by Red Bull driver Verstappen.

“I just want to be somewhere else than here right now” :: Valtteri Bottas

Asked by The Race for his initial analysis of another tricky race and the setback it presents, Bottas said it came down to “just a bad start”, before accepting his chance of beating Hamilton in the championship for the first time is now looking slim.

“I think the initial getaway from the line was not quite good enough and also my reaction time could have been a bit better, so just not a perfect start when it is needed,” Bottas said.

“And on this track if the guys behind get a tow from you and if you don’t get the tow and if your start is not better you pay the price, that’s it.

Valtteri Bottas Mercedes Spanish Grand Prix 2020 Barcelona

“Initially disappointed of course, it’s far from ideal. I have no clue actually what the points difference is, but it’s way too big. And I can see again the championship drifting away.

“We’ll take a couple of days to look at everything and see what went wrong and again, move on.

“Obviously at this point very disappointing, but yes I know I will always bounce back. And no doubt in Spa [the next race in two weeks’ time], as always I’ll be in full mental health, giving everything I have.

“For now, I just want to be somewhere else than here right now.”

Bottas has only finished directly behind Hamilton twice in six grands prix, although that would be three if he had not suffered the late tyre failure in the first Silverstone race.

That is despite starting on the front row at every race except the Styrian Grand Prix.

Bottas said he has “no answer” to why his strong qualifying form is being undone on race day, beyond lamenting “a couple of shitty races at Silverstone with bad luck”.

“Apart from the first race it’s been pretty bad,” he said of his season.

“There’s been not a weekend that has gone smoothly without issues.

“That’s disappointing so yes, nice to have a break [one week off before Spa]. Hopefully we’ll still have many more races to go, maybe even up to 10 or something like this.

“I really hope so. But so far, far from ideal.”

Bottas at least grabbed an extra point in the Spanish GP late on with a pitstop to get fastest lap.

“We tried everything we could,” he said. “I think strategy wise it was tricky to find a good opportunity to get P2 as everyone knows how difficult it is in this track.

“With the free pitstop at the end, we tried. So, at least one extra point, but it’s still such a disappointing day for me.”

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