Mercedes believes the poor start suffered by Valtteri Bottas during the Spanish Grand Prix was not caused by an issue with his Formula 1 car, but a lack of grip.

Polesitter Bottas lost the lead of the race to teammate Lewis Hamilton after the Briton made a quicker start and held the inside line heading into Turn 1 on the opening lap in Barcelona. Hamilton went on to head a dominant fifth straight one-two finish for Mercedes to retake the championship lead from Bottas.

The Finn had initially reported “strange clutch vibrations” which he thought had caused his sluggish getaway, but Mercedes now thinks it was simply down to a lack of grip on the pole position side of the starting grid.

Speaking in the team’s latest post-race debrief video, 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, added: "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 his poor start in the Chinese Grand Prix was more difficult to take as it “was a bit more” his own fault.

“It was the first time I’ve felt anything like that, like a vibration in the clutch and that’s why the initial getaway was very poor,” he had explained in the direct aftermath the race.

“It was kind of biting and releasing in a very quick frequency. I definitely felt it just by G-force, it was going up and down, and the whole car was vibrating. We can already see from the data because my hand and the car was vibrating.

“Luckily I didn’t lose any more places than that but it can happen and I’m sure we’ll fix it.”

You can watch the full video below.



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