"Disturbance" compromised Bottas' start


Not for the first time, Valtteri Bottas' race was essentially over before it had really begun.

Starting from the front row, as teammate, Lewis Hamilton headed towards the first corner, the Finn found himself engulfed by the chasing pack, and having lost out to Carlos Sainz on the run to the first chicane, was passed by Lando Norris in the chicane, Sergio Perez in the Lesmos and Daniel Ricciardo, as the Finn dropped sixth.

As he clearly struggled, the Finn reported a puncture, but stayed out as the team said all was OK.

"I had an issue with the actual reaction to the lights," Bottas subsequently told reporters. "We've been playing around with the way we do start practicing and the protocol of how we do it. We've changed that a bit, and I feel like there's been some disturbance sometimes at the actual starts. They've not fully been representative to the actual starts, although I can't go much more into into detail from my side."

The poor start echoed his getaway - or lack of it - in Hungary, when he triggered his anti-stall after almost jumping the start.

"Again I nearly went for the lights," he said, comparing the two incidents, "but luckily not as much as the other race. So for the actual start I was a bit late.

"There's still things to work on," he admitted. "The kind of the launch itself, after you drop the clutch, that part is fine and we've made good progress. But just getting that consistency into the reaction for start lights, there's work to do."

Asked about the puncture that wasn't, he explained: "Into Turn 6 I was on outside and had quite a bit of understeer, and then Turn 7 I had like a pretty big understeer, it felt like a puncture. Then out of Turn 7 the car felt like it was pulling a bit to the right and the left, like it didn't feel right, so I was completely convinced I had a puncture. That's why I just wanted to make sure I'm going straight from Turn 8, so I lifted early. But then actually it kind of recovered and it was fine.

"So I'm not sure if I picked up something on the tyre or if something was wrong with the car from contact," he added. "I haven't heard yet anything with the corner weights or anything, but it felt really, really odd. It was very, very messy first lap."

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Published: 07/09/2020
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