F1 World Championship title hopes ‘drifting away’ from Valtteri Bottas

Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton won a fourth race in six on Sunday

Alan Baldwin
Monday 17 August 2020 10:58
F1 preview: A lap of the Spanish Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas started the season with a win, just like last year, and once again his hopes have been pummelled by Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton.

After Hamilton won Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix, the Briton’s fourth victory in six races, Bottas did not try to hide his disappointment.

The Finn, who won from pole at Austria’s Red Bull Ring last month, is third overall and now 43 points behind the six times world champion.

“Disappointed of course. It’s far from ideal and I have no clue actually what the points difference is, but it’€™s way too big, and I can see again the championship drifting away,” he said.

“(I) will take a couple of days to look at everything and see what went wrong and again move on, but obviously at this point it’€™s very disappointing.

“I know I will always bounce back and no doubt in Spa, as always, I will be in full mental health, giving everything I have. But for now I just want to be somewhere else than here.”

The next race is the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps in two weeks’ time.

Asked why it was happening again, Bottas said he could not put his finger on it.

“I can’t say. I had a good start in the first race and the pace all season, in every single race, in qualifying has been super-close, every single time with Lewis.”

The Finn has had some bad luck, suffering a puncture on the penultimate lap in the British Grand Prix that dropped him out of the points from second, while Hamilton also suffered a blowout on the last lap yet still won.

But Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, who is narrowly ahead of Bottas in the standings, has also had misfortune, suffering the first retirement of the season in Austria, although Sunday was his fifth successive podium.

In Spain, Bottas lost out at the start and dropped from second to fourth.

He fought back to third, but a late switch to soft tyres still left him unable to pass Verstappen, who has beaten him in the last four races.

“Apart from the first race, it’s been pretty bad,” said Bottas.

“There’s not been a weekend that has gone smoothly without issues, apart from the first one... So it’s nice to have a break.”

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