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Wolff explains "robust" call on Bottas' tyre choice

NEWS STORY
26/10/2020

When Valtteri Bottas pitted on lap 41 of the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Finn, on hearing that teammate Lewis Hamilton had switched to hards when he pitted a lap earlier, called for softs to be fitted for the remaining 25 laps of the race.

Around 9s down on the world champion, Bottas obviously thought he could close the gap better on the red-banded rubber. However, his request was denied, and like Hamilton he returned to action on hards, eventually finishing 25.5s behind the winner.

"We have done it on occasions, but it's always a tricky situation," admitted team boss, Toto Wolff at race end, when asked why the team didn't put its two drivers on a split strategy as Bottas wanted.

"If you ask the lead driver to put the hards on because you believe this is the right choice, and then the second driver starts to convince you about the other thing, it's very difficult to explain that you've basically reversed the cars," he added. "We don't want to interfere too much, and there will be situations where we ware going to allow these calls.

"We were pretty convinced that the hard was the better tyre," said the Austrian in terms of why Hamilton - and then Bottas - was put on the white-banded rubber.

"All data that we've seen from cars out there tended towards the hard outperforming the medium and the soft. When you look at Checo and Esteban at the end, the soft didn't function at all. It was actually the weakest tyre at the end of the race.

"We were pretty robust in our decision, because we expected it to be the better tyre."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Portimao, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by C5, 27/10/2020 21:07

""We were pretty convinced that the hard was the better tyre".

Translation:

"Putting Bottas on the softer tire would carry significant risk Lewis would start moaning endlessly on the radio and maybe even showing a frowny face on the podium. I didn't want to run the risk having to listen to that. No. We just can't have that.""

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Lapps, 26/10/2020 13:59

"Of course, if Lewis had wanted the Soft?!?"

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3. Posted by kenji, 26/10/2020 11:01

"Obviously Wolff will not allow the driver, Bottas, to make any decisions that may enhance his position during this race. Mercedes are all about setting records and this one was too big to allow the driver any discretion. After all what would the driver know? It was quite obvious that in the post race interviews Bottas struggled to respond when questioned about this incident. He certainly looked upset and rather morose. One can't help feeling that Bottas is being used and he knows it. His attempts to disguise this were not hard to see."

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