Valtteri Bottas Forced to Settle for Second at Monza: “I was pushing as hard as I could”

by Paul Hensby

Valtteri Bottas felt he did everything he could to take victory in Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix but ultimately, he was forced to settle for second behind Charles Leclerc.

The Mercedes AMG Motorsport driver ran third for the majority of the afternoon but had closed the gap on Leclerc and team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the second stint and was in prime position to capitalise on a mistake from the reigning World Champion at the first chicane to take over second place.

On fresher tyres than Leclerc, Bottas made inroads into the Scuderia Ferrari driver’s advantage at the front, but whenever he got within striking distance, he was unable to make a move, citing issues with the brakes and tyres whenever he was in the slipstream.

“I was trying everything to get close enough to Charles to make a move on him in the final laps, but the Ferraris were very quick on the straights this weekend, so it was difficult to get close enough,” said Bottas.  

“I was pushing as hard as I could, but every time I got really close, I started to lock-ups the fronts.”

Despite missing out on the win by less than a second, Bottas felt Mercedes’ performance at Monza was better than they were expecting it to be, feeling ahead of the weekend that Ferrari were going to be way out in front. 

However, this turned out not to be the case, which Bottas feels is good news for Mercedes with tracks that are expected to be more suited to them coming up.

“While it’s disappointing that we didn’t win, our performance today was actually quite promising,” admitted the Finn.  “We came to Monza expecting this to be one of the most difficult races of the season for us, but we could really challenge the Ferraris, so that’s good to see.

“It was a good race overall from that perspective and I think we can leave Italy with a positive feeling. On paper, the upcoming races should play a little more towards our strengths and I’m looking forward to a good fight with Ferrari and Red Bull over the next weeks.”

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