Valtteri Bottas doesn’t see favoritism within Mercedes after Lewis Hamilton was able to use alternative strategy in Imola, something the Finn couldn’t in Algarve.
At multiple points throughout the 2020 F1 season, Bottas has requested an alternate strategy to that of his Mercedes teammate Hamilton. On each of these occasions, however, the Finn has been denied the opportunity to stray from the team’s plan.
And though, due to the team’s frequent strategic adaptations in order to accommodate the wants of Hamilton, some have alleged favoritism in the team, Bottas denied this after the Emilia Romagna GP, where the Brit did get to choose an alternative strategy.
It was another race that saw the 31-year-old’s strategy be compromised, as an intent to run a longer first stint was tossed when Red Bull’s Max Verstappen dove for the pits early. Hamilton stayed out and his overcut strategy proved effective.
Though his strategy ultimately worked against him, Bottas explained that the eventuality was discussed before the start of the race. He remained confident that – had the roles been flipped – he would have received the same treatment as Hamilton.
“We went through the plans in the morning of the race, what happens if one of us gets under pressure and there’s a possibility that Red Bull could undercut and that was me, so obviously I had to react and it would have been the same case if I was in Lewis’s position that the only thing I wanted to do is to go long and seek the opportunities and it really paid off for Lewis and if we were the other way round it would have been the same for me,” said Bottas.
Bottas also dismissed the notion that he was wronged in the case of the Portuguese GP, defending the team’s call to reject his request. “Obviously Lewis, he had the pace advantage,” he said, “I think, honestly, partly, because of the debris I had but we were pretty strong but two completely different scenarios and actually in Portimao, even though I asked for the soft but I couldn’t achieve the target lap anyway, to get the soft to last until the end.
“The racing intent is good and is working and we are following the rules and it’s completely fair. It’s one of the thing that allows us as a team to actually do the things that we’re doing,” Bottas concluded having finished second in the most recent race.
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