Valtteri Bottas leaves Silverstone disappointed, believing victory was possible in the 2019 British Grand Prix were it not for a fortuitously timed safety car for team-mate and race winner Lewis Hamilton.
Bottas had got the better of Hamilton in qualifying to claim a sensational pole-position by the finest of margins. The Finn held his advantage at the start of the race and came out on top in a wheel-to-wheel battle with his team-mate in the opening stages, losing the lead briefly before reclaiming it at the iconic Copse corner.
But Hamilton would claim a permanent lead once Bottas made the first of two pit-stops. While the Finn committed to a two-stop strategy, swapping his opening stint Medium compound tyres for a fresh set of Mediums, Hamilton stretched his opening stint to twenty laps when the safety car was deployed, gifting Hamilton a ‘free’ pit-stop and the lead of the race having made his one and only stop.
Bottas would make his second stop with a handful of laps to go, adopting a set of Soft tyres, but was never able to challenge crowd favourite Hamilton for the victory.
“I had a good start off the line and then a good fight with Lewis in the first few laps, which was really enjoyable,” said Bottas. “After my pit stop, I was controlling the gap to Lewis, but then the Safety Car came out and he effectively got a free stop and came out ahead of me.
“I was hoping that there might be another opportunity in the race, but I knew the chances were slim because I had to do another stop to change to a different compound anyways.
“The tyre life was ultimately much better than we had thought, so a one-stop would have been possible, but our simulations before the race had predicted a two-stop to be the fastest option.”
Despite slipping to thirty-nine points behind Hamilton in the drivers’ standing, Bottas is taking the positives out of the British Grand Prix weekend as they F1 fraternity heads to Mercedes-AMG Motorsport‘s home race in Germany.
“I’m disappointed because the win was definitely possible for me today, but I can definitely take positives from this weekend – I had a strong Qualifying and my race pace also looked very good.
“It was also another strong weekend from the team, to take a 1-2 after a difficult race in Austria is a great result. Congratulations to Lewis for the win, he drove well and had massive support from the local fans.
“I’m looking forward to the next race in Hockenheim and will give it everything to fight back.”