(Motorsport-Total.com) – He’s been fast at Lusail International Circuit in Qatar from the start, but only on the grid for the 2021 Qatar Grand Prix (keep racing here in the free F1 live stream!) but only in third place: Valtteri Bottas. Even Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said on “Sky” that Bottas was “a little sorry” for that, because “Valtteri has been the toughest guy in the past few days”.
© Motorsport Pictures
Valtteri Bottas in a Mercedes W12 and a Mercedes mechanic in the pits in Qatar
In qualifying, Wolff explained that Bottas “somehow couldn’t handle the situation”. Bottas himself claims he has “no idea” of “what happened overnight”. He “felt really good in the car” at Friday’s practice, but then something changed for him. “And that’s a bit baffling,” Bottas says.
The Mercedes driver continues: “In the third free practice [am Samstag] I was still the fastest, but I had to push a lot. So I knew there would be no more. I immediately had problems in qualifying, especially in the first round. I didn’t overheat the tires at the beginning of the lap and struggled in the first two corners with no grip on the rear axle.”
Which is why he lost the “confidence in the car” he still had on Friday. “Now we have to make sure everything is fine in the car [das Rennen]Bottas says.
From P3 he can still support Lewis Hamilton in the world title fight against Red Bull driver Max Verstappen. And that’s exactly what he’ll do, Bottas asserts: “I don’t have much to lose.”
If possible, he wanted to overtake Verstappen at the start, especially since he was starting on the better side. And: “At first we have two cars against Max. I’m sure we can do something about that,” Bottas says. “I’m looking forward to racing. It will be close to Red Bull, and the pace in the race should be similar. It’s good to have a 2-1 position there as well.”
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