Valtteri Bottas says that a variety of factors conspired to hamper his challenge to Lewis Hamilton in Canada, but the Finn insists that his ultimate pace was a match for his teammate’s.
The Finn’s troubles started when he lost out to Max Verstappen on the opening lap, and by the time the Dutchman retired on lap 11 Bottas had lost touch with leader Hamilton, and was struggling with a tyre vibration and brake issues.
He stopped much earlier than the three-time world champion, and was equipped with softs, rather than the supersoft tyres Hamilton took later.
Bottas then lost time behind Esteban Ocon, who had yet to pit. He eventually finished 19.7s adrift of Hamilton, who said that he did not have to push the car.
“I honestly don’t think there was much of a difference between our pace,” said Bottas. “In the first stint I was initially behind the Red Bull.
“I had a big lock-up, I was having difficulties to see at the end of the straights, and also brakes overheating behind Verstappen. I had to save them, lift and coasting, and stuff life that.
“Then when I stopped we decided to go for the soft tyre, which I completely understand, because already at that point Lewis was quite far away, there was nothing really for me to lose to try and go for the soft.
The feeling for me with the soft on Friday was quite good, with the hotter temps we thought it worked really well. But it wasn’t quick enough I think, and we lost I don’t know how many seconds behind Ocon. Lewis’s supersofts seemed very solid, very quick.”
Without his trouble, Bottas felt that he could have had the same speed as Hamilton.
“I don’t think in the race I struggled massively. Things were not aligned for me today to fight for the win.
“I think yesterday was a bit tricky, especially Q3, but otherwise not my best weekend, but not bad either. Really for us as a team, the first one-two of the year, these are the results that we need.”
Bottas conceded that he didn’t know how the team could have got him past Verstappen, had the Dutchman not retired.
“Not sure, to be honest, we didn’t really go through that. I got kind of lucky that Max had a DNF there. I think relative to Red Bull we definitely had more pace.
“And it would have been an opportunity at the pitstop to get in front of him, or by putting pressure all through the race. The only worry is if I had been stuck behind him for a long time, my front brakes would have overheated.”