Mercedes explains why it turned down Bottas' tyre call

16/09/2020
NEWS STORY

Mercedes has explained why it turned down Valtteri Bottas' request that he be put on a different tyre strategy to his teammate at Mugello.

Having taken the lead at the start, Valtteri Bottas retained it after the ill-fated rolling restart shortly after.

At the standing start that followed however, Lewis Hamilton appeared to catch the Finn napping, and by the end of the lap was already 1.13s clear of the second Mercedes.

In his subsequent pursuit of his teammate, Bottas called on his team, stating that: "For the second tyre set, I want the opposite to Lewis."

However, when the Finn stopped on 31 - Hamilton subsequently advised that this was down to safety reasons - he was fitted with hards, as was his teammate a lap later.

In the team's latest video debrief, Chief Strategist, James Vowles explains that the decision to fit both drivers with the same compound wasn't an attempt to compromise Bottas, but rather the fear of a repeat of the issues the team suffered at Silverstone.

"Towards Lap 30 of the race, both cars were on mediums and going into their stints," explains Vowles. "We'd expected to stop just one more time before the end of the race. We started to notice around Lap 29, Lap 30 a vibration on Valtteri's front tyres that was getting more and more significant. It was reminiscent of what we saw at Silverstone, so this time we wanted to prevent any incidents from occurring.

"As a result of that, instead of boxing Lewis first - because he had priority - we brought Valtteri in," he continues, "and we reviewed what the best compound would be to fit in that circumstance.

"Given the medium degradation was higher than expected, and given that this stint was slightly shorter than what we'd wanted to do, and that we had the lead to the field, we opted for the hard tyre."

Insisting that under normal circumstances the team would have been "more than happy" to go along with Bottas' wishes, Vowles explained: "What we were going to do, is stop Lewis first - again, priority on the stop lap - and whatever tyre he fitted, we were more than happy to do something different with Valtteri.

"But this wasn't a planned stop, this was us reacting to a problem, and as a result of it, we went on the safe side."

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Published: 16/09/2020
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