Bottas defends Sakhir performance

08/12/2020
NEWS STORY

The two main questions everyone appears to be asking after yesterday's Sakhir Grand Prix is why there doesn't appear to be a place on the 2021 grid for Sergio Perez, and why, given his outstanding performance, is George Russell likely to head to the far-flung regions of the grid again with Williams - a comment that would have been unthinkable just a few short years ago.

However, yesterday's race also gave ammunition to those who argue that Lewis Hamilton's six titles with Mercedes are more about the car he has, while also adding pressure to Red Bull bosses as they continue to defend Alex Albon. Indeed, Perez' win has only ramped up the pressure on Messrs Horner and Marko.

Then there's Valtteri Bottas, who, having been consistently made to look like the era's Rubens Barrichello in terms of his subservience to a teammate, was totally overshadowed by young pretender, George Russell.

Though he took pole, admittedly by just 0.026s, a fluffed start saw him lose the lead by the first corner. Russell effectively made a mug of him once again later in the race, and it was only a combination of bad luck, fate or whatever you wish to call it, that saw the Finn finish ahead of the youngster.

Aware of the talk, Bottas was keen to launch a robust defence, arguing that all is not how it appeared.

Asked if effectively being beaten by a total newcomer to the team was harder than consistently playing second-fiddle to Hamilton, Bottas said: "Well, no...

"Obviously in the race I just try to make the most out of it," he continued. "I knew that it's going to be a long race ahead so I don't think about these kind of things.

"But now thinking about it, if you don't know things I might have looked like a complete c... and a fool, you know? So that's not nice.

"It was a pretty bad race for me from that side," he admitted. "It will be very easy or people to say that a new guy comes in and beats the guy who's been in the team for a few years. So it was not ideal. But the people who know, they know how the performance and how the end result could have been. So, I don't know what to say really. Not ideal as a weekend."

Talking about his race, he explained: "I knew that in the first stint with the medium tyre, the track position would be important, so obviously it was unfortunate to lose that. But in the second stint, I was catching him at a pretty decent rate, so I knew everything is going to be open and most likely we'll have a good battle.

"I still knew that everything was going to be to play for, especially towards the end of the stint on the hard tyres.

"The race was not finished when we had the thing with the pit stops, which obviously changed everything," he said of the infamous double-stacked pit stop under the safety car which saw him return to the fray sporting the same tyres he had originally pitted with. "That was a nightmare, being on the old, hard tyres, that had already lost a bit of temperature in the pit stop. Against guys with fresh mediums around, I was like a sitting duck. It was a pretty nightmare situation."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Bahrain, here.

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Published: 08/12/2020
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