Toto Wolff has explained the sensor issue for Valtteri Bottas in F1 Portuguese GP, while the Finn couldn’t explain his pace drop.
Having lost to his Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton and also Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after a strong opening run in F1 Portuguese GP, Bottas was catching the Dutchman when he faced a slight hiccup on one of his laps, where he noted of ‘power drop’.
Wolff explained that Mercedes couldn’t override a senor, which resulted in the engine going into protection mode for few seconds. “It was unfortunate with Valtteri,” he said to TV media. “He really caught up well to Max, and then it stablised, but he had more to come at the end of the race.
“Then we made a driver switch change, basically to override a sensor, saying that we are running too hot on exhaust temperature and we couldn’t override it and the engine went into protection mode and he lost few seconds. I think Valtteri at the beginning was pushing so hard with the DRS effect.
“The Top 3 have been in the class of their own and Valtteri probably would have had a shot on Max, if we didn’t let him down on the power unit. It was a good recovery from where he was a week ago, so we should give him credit,” summed up Wolff, who even came on radio to cheer up Bottas, when he was catching Verstappen.
“We discussed it and I enjoy it also, because I’m so passionate about things that having a release valve to Valtteri, I thought works well,” said Wolff. “It actually didn’t work well this time, so I maybe need to shut up next time, or at least discuss with him. He’s mentally strong, when you saw how he recovered from last weekend.
“He was really catching up, really hunting him down, but when I came on the radio, it kind of flat-lined. So maybe not in the future any more,” summed up Wolff, who noted that they actually pitted him one lap earlier than they should have for the fastest lap, which allowed Verstappen to pit on the next, but thankfully his lap was deleted and Bottas took one point.
On his side, though, he was loss on words to explain why his pace went away after a solid start. He kept Hamilton and Verstappen at bay for long, but couldn’t hang on to it eventually. “It was disappointing,” said Bottas. “When you start from the pole position, you have only one target for the race and that is to win the race.
“It didn’t happen, so I’m disappointed – but I don’t really know why in the first stint I didn’t really have the pace. I mean, I felt everything in terms of the race start, the restart, everything was good from my side but I could see quite early on in the race that, with the Mediums, I just didn’t have pace like Lewis and Max had. I have no idea way.
“I don’t have the explanation. It was better on the Hard tyre and at some point I was catching Max and then I had an issue with one sensor that, I started to lose power and then I lost like five seconds to Max and that was it,” summed up Bottas, who noted that the hard tyre was actually better than medium, even though it took a lap or two to warm-up.
Here’s Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen on their re-start duel
Here’s Paddy Lowe with some interesting tales of Mercedes