A poor start and an inability to defend at the Turn1 cost him the race, Valtteri Bottas admitted after losing the fight to Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
This was the Finnish driver’s third pole position of the season and his first race from the front of the grid in the last 10 races at Interlagos.
Bottas was very close to taking the lead back when he pitted a lap before Vettel. But the German timed his pit stop perfectly and emerged ahead of the Mercedes driver and kept a good gap between the two for the rest of the race.
Austrian Grand Prix was Bottas’s last win this season where he started from the pole. Bottas admitted that the loss was “unfortunate”.
“For me, the issue was the initial wheelspin,” he explained. “As soon as I started to release the clutch, I broke the traction.
“I had wheelspin and a poor getaway, I was trying to cover the inside, but looking in the mirror I couldn’t see Seb anywhere. I was guessing he would come inside, and he did.”
Bottas insisted that if he had defended his lead at Turn 1, it would have translated into a win because his Mercedes had the pace to keep Vettel at a distance.
“Our pace and our car was pretty similar today, there was not much pace difference,” he said. “Being first out of Turn 1 would have been quite a different race, but if and if…”
Bottas believes he needs “some miracles” to bridge the gap with Vettel to get the runner-up in driver’s championship. The German leads the Finn by 22 points after his win at Interlagos.
Vettel almost lost his chance
Vettel believed that making a pass at Turn 1 was his only chance at winning the race as both Mercedes and Ferrari had “more or less the same pace” throughout the race.
He thought he had lost his chance to snatch the lead at Turn 1.
“Initially I had a very good launch and thought I got this, then maybe I was a bit too greedy, spinning up the wheels a little bit and losing some momentum on Valtteri,” he said.
“Then I looked over and saw he was still struggling and gained a bit on the second phase to get me momentum into the first corner.
“I knew I had to go for it, there was a little bit of a gap, and I went for it. It was important.”
Both the drivers struggled for a bit in their attempt to make a pass and Vettel claimed he was “pretty much flat out all the time” to stay ahead.
He added: “We had less straight line speed than Mercedes this weekend.
“It was tough seeing him in my mirrors close, especially in the first and third sectors, so I had to nail the second sector each time.”