Bottas: Soft tyre gamble compromised by block into Turn 1 in F1 Sprint

Valtteri Bottas says his inability to get past Max Verstappen at the start of Formula 1’s first-ever sprint qualifying meant he couldn’t make the most of his soft tyres.
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W12.
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W12.

Bottas was the only driver inside the top ten to start F1’s sprint race on the red-marked soft tyres.

Typically, the softer rubber gives you an advantage off the line but Bottas couldn’t make the most of it, settling in behind teammate Lewis Hamilton, with Verstappen enjoying a great start from second, moving into the lead of the race at Turn 1.

Speaking after the sprint race, Bottas believed it was worth gambling on the soft tyres even though he couldn't move up from third on the grid.

“Yes, we tried to do something different,” Bottas said. “Obviously, the target was to try and get Max at the start or during the first lap but it didn’t happen, as he had a good start as well. In Turn One I was slightly blocked, so I couldn’t really use the momentum.

“But we tried and, in the end, still managed to keep the place using the Soft tyre, even though there was some blistering, so, it’s OK.”

Despite running on significantly lower fuel loads, the majority of the grid still suffered significant tyre blistering.

With temperatures forecast to be even warmer on Sunday, Bottas reckons blistering will be the main factor in deciding the grand prix.

“Yes, definitely. I think today showed that tomorrow it’s not going to be easy and if it’s going to be warmer we may as well see more issues.” Bottas added. “At least now we are definitely aware and tomorrow, anything can happen, really.”


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