Valtteri Bottas: “Even with the pace difference overtaking was impossible”


Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Valtteri Bottas complained that he could not turn his promising race pace into track position, confined to keeping the fifth place he qualified in.

Bottas opted to bypass the ultra-soft compound that caused Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport problems in Qualifying 2 yesterday, instead choosing the super-soft tyres at his sole stop and showing better pace than the leaders – all on the ultra-softs.

The Finn bemoaned an “uneventful race” that saw none of the top six drivers move from their starting positions – bar changes due to pit activity – yet remained confident that Mercedes made the right choice in terms of his strategy. Team-mate Lewis Hamilton struggled with graining on the front left tyre with the ultra-soft compound, finishing third.

“That’s Monaco – sometimes a lot of things happen,” said Bottas. “Sometimes nothing happens and you get a pretty uneventful race like today.

“I think we made the right choice with the super-soft tyre for my second stint, it felt like it was working better than the ultra-softs.”

Bottas spent much of the race tagged to the back of compatriot Kimi Räikkönen, but said he was resigned to sitting behind the Scuderia Ferrari driver due to a lack of overtaking opportunities despite having more pace.

“The first stint was difficult because of the tyre drop-off, but the second stint was really good,” he summarised.

“I could put pressure on the cars ahead. I had more pace than the cars in front of me, and yet there was nothing I could do; even with the pace difference overtaking was impossible.”

However, Bottas said that he was unsurprised in Mercedes’ lack of pace around the Circuit de Monaco. The reigning champions’ 2018 package is not designed for the tight, slow-speed challenge of the principality, calling third and fifth “successful damage limitation” in terms of the championship.

Bottas moves down to third in the Drivers’ Championship, behind race winner Daniel Ricciardo of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, and is hopeful that the Canadian Grand Prix is a “better hunting ground” for the German marque. The Finn managed a comfortable second at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve last year.

“We knew the weekend might be difficult and that’s how it turned out to be, but we managed to do successful damage limitation,” he said.

“Qualifying P5 did not make that any easier for me and I don’t think we could have done anything different today with the car we have. Montreal should be a better hunting ground for our car, so we hope for a better outcome in Canada.”