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Wolff bemoans Bottas 'opening of the sea' for Verstappen

NEWS STORY
08/11/2021

Toto Wolff aghast as Valtteri Bottas goes from hero to zero in opening moments of Grand Prix.

What a difference 24 hours makes...

On Saturday, Valtteri Bottas was the hero having, along with teammate Lewis Hamilton, produced a shock result which saw Mercedes lock-out the front row at a time Red Bull was considered the red hot favourite.

Fast forward twenty-four hours and the Finn makes a basic mistake which many, including Mercedes team boss, Toto Wolff feel effectively gifted Max Verstappen the win.

Heading down the main straight towards the first corner, Bottas remained in the centre of the track alongside his Mercedes teammate, who had started on the dirty right-side of the grid, leaving acres of room on his left.

Not one to wait for an invitation, Verstappen drew alongside the Black Arrows and as they arrived at the opening right-hander took full advantage of the fact that he was on the clean side of the track to out-brake them both. Job done.

To compound Mercedes misery, turning into the corner, Bottas was clouted by Daniel Ricciardo who had locked-up, sending the Mercedes into a spin and dropping it to the back of the field.

To compound his misery, Bottas was to spend much of the afternoon looking at the exhaust of his first corner 'assailant', Ricciardo.

"That should not happen," Wolff subsequently told { i}Sky Sports. "I think we had two cars in front and seemed to open up the sea for Max to come around the outside.

"And even the spin afterwards, and the complete loss of points with Valtteri's car when there could have been a third or fourth place is annoying, to say the least," he added."

When it was pointed out that at least Bottas deprived Verstappen of fastest lap, albeit after a third stop for fresh rubber, the Austrian admitted: "That doesn't really console me at that stage."

"Very, very tricky," admitted Bottas at race end. "For me obviously quite compromised with the first corner incident, and then I was stuck behind cars that I couldn't pass.

"It was really tricky," he continued, "and also I was quite limited with the engine and brake temperatures, so I couldn't attack many laps in a row. So I had to go back and forwards and couldn't find a way to progress."

Asked why he was unable to make a move on the McLaren, he replied: "It was tricky. McLaren have the same power unit, they have good straight-line speed. He was defending well and I just couldn't find a way.

"At least one point, that's something," he said of his fastest lap, which had deprived Verstappen. "Obviously a lot less than what I aimed for today. Not my lucky day."

"You have to congratulate Red Bull because the pace was just on another level," said Wolff. "I don't think we could have won the race even if we would have stayed ahead in the first corner because they could have driven circles around us around the pit stops.

"In the end, for Lewis' championship, it was damage limitation, as for the constructors'... Valtteri spinning out at Turn 1 was just very painful.

"Lewis drove a brilliant race with the equipment he was given to really hold onto P2 because Checo was fast on the Friday, that is really the highlight for me today.

"Now it's just about picking ourselves up."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Mexico City, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 09/11/2021 10:50

"All Lewis had to do was move a metre or two to the left and there was no way through for Max with Valtteri alongside, he basically left the door open."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by jimclark, 08/11/2021 11:36

"Not much to say. It's all right there........"

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