Mercedes CEO Andrew Shovlin explains why Valtteri Bottas had to park his car in the pit box, instead of attempting to take the fastest lap of the race.
Bottas got off to a bad start at the start of the Qatar Grand Prix. He dropped from sixth place to eleventh position. The Finn also got a flat tire on lap 33 and Mercedes decided to stop the car early.
Max Verstappen managed to maximize with a second place and the fastest lap. Bottas might have been able to take it from the Dutchman. However, the Finn’s car was too damaged to do this: “We started to get vibrations again on the new set of tires. Whether that was due to the tires or the damage is not clear and we will have Pirelli take a look at it,” Shovlin said. In addition, it was questionable whether Bottas could still be the fastest with the condition of the car: “It made more sense to stop the car, we decided that scoring that one point was not enough.”
The Finn was surprised by the spontaneous puncture. Shovlin: “It was fast and it came at a very inopportune time in the lap, there was no way to go into the pits.” Then Bottas rode around outside the top ten. “We didn’t really see how he could get into the points. There was also quite a bit of aero damage,” Shovlin explains.