Valtteri Bottas admitted it was not a day to remember for him as the Mercedes AMG Motorsport driver was only able to finish fifth in Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix.
The Finn was stuck in traffic throughout the sixty-one lap race, finding himself running in that fifth position almost from start to finish, with Bottas ending the race not far behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton on what he described as a ‘long Sunday drive, just without air conditioning’ due to the heat and humidity at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.
“I was hoping for some action today, but there wasn’t really a whole lot, so the race felt a bit like a long Sunday drive, just without air conditioning,” said Bottas. “We tried to create some opportunities by offsetting our tyres to the cars in front and maybe get a chance to attack at the end of the race, but it didn’t work out.
“The car felt quick today, but you need a pace delta of almost two seconds to overtake in Singapore, so we couldn’t really attack the cars ahead.”
Bottas was heard over the radio being told by strategist James Vowles to hang back to ensure team-mate Hamilton came out ahead of him after the pit stop cycle, but the Finn revealed that this is standard procedure at Mercedes, with the priority always given to the driver ahead at the time.
“We have rules of engagement for our pit stops as we don’t want to use them to swap position between our cars,” said Bottas. “The car ahead always gets the priority; so if the car behind stops early and undercuts, we will make sure that the other car still ends up in front.
“We can’t be happy with our results this weekend, so we will analyse and review everything diligently as there’s a lot that we can learn from qualifying and the race.”
There is a quick turnaround before Formula 1 resumes at the Sochi Autodrom next weekend, a venue where Bottas is traditionally strong at, but he is expecting another tough battle with Scuderia Ferrari, who, after three consecutive victories, he expects to be strong once more.
“We’re going to Sochi next, a track that I’m usually strong at, but there are also very long straights, so we expect Ferrari to be quick again,” said Bottas. “It won’t be easy, but I’m looking forward to the chance to fight again next week.”