Mercedes have hit back at Valtteri Bottas’ claim that they decided to run a “not quite normal” strategy on his car in the 2021 season-opener at Bahrain.
Bottas qualified third on the grid for the Bahrain Grand Prix, and he finished the race in the same position, well behind Sir Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen due to him losing places at the start and having a very slow pitstop (the team also opted to pit him again with a lap to go so he could get an extra point for setting fastest lap.)
Speaking after the race, the Finn described his strategy as “defensive” and “not quite normal”, potentially suggesting Mercedes did not want to try something different on his side of the garage because they didn’t want to give him an opportunity to finish ahead of his team-mate.
However, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said that there wasn’t another viable strategy for them to put Bottas on.
“I think there wasn’t any strategy on the table because we tried to undercut,” Wolff said.
“Also, with Valtteri, what changed the race for him, or made his race not bring the outcome he would have wished for, was that he lost positions at the start of the race and couldn’t recover the gap to the two guys in front.
“Then the pit stop that was there to undercut Max [Verstappen], I think we would probably have been successful but we had a problem with the right-front wheel gun.
“Then I don’t know what other strategy we could have run. The one-stop was clearly not possible. The medium wouldn’t have made it to the end.
“The hard in the middle stint was running out of performance and there was no other option on the table.
“But I totally understand the frustration in the car when you have limited information and say I think we could have done something else,” the Austrian concluded.