Valtteri Bottas was unhappy with the strategic choices made by Mercedes during the season-opening Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Bottas struggled to stick with Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in the early stages of the race in Bahrain after dropping behind Charles Leclerc on the opening lap.

The Finn came into play in the middle part of the grand prix, running just over four seconds behind Verstappen.

Mercedes decided to stop Bottas a second time, just a couple of laps after the team told him: “We’ll be going long”.

A 10-second delay on his second stop meant Bottas had to settle for third, setting the fastest lap on the final lap after making a third stop.

Reflecting on the first race of the season, Bottas felt the strategy wasn’t as aggressive as he’d have liked.

“Disappointing, for sure,” Bottas said. “Good thing we got good points as a team. From my side, at least for me, it felt like strategy-wise we were on the defensive side, instead of attacking, which I’m quite surprised and not quite normal.  

“Not ideal and then I had quite a slow pit stop which, in the end, took away any opportunities. At times the pace was good but disappointed.”

Given it was two Mercedes cars against just one Red Bull in Bahrain, Bottas thinks it was a missed opportunity for him.

“Yes, for sure we managed to have two cars and, that way, we had also had different tyre choices so we could really play with the strategy, but I still think from my side there should have been more to get today,” Bottas added.

 

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