Bottas reveals late tyre call was key to F1 Sprint win in Brazil
Valtteri Bottas is aiming to convert pole into victory in Sunday’s Sao Paulo Grand Prix after he made the most of his soft tyres to bolt into the lead at the start of the F1 Sprint and from there never looked back…
The Finn earned three points for his efforts, as Mercedes extended their slim lead in the constructors’ championship over Red Bull while minimising the damage to Lewis Hamilton’s title charge, after the Briton was disqualified from qualifying and relegated to the back.
“The start was the key,” said Bottas. “The key thing for me was to have a good start and we gambled a bit with the soft tyres, because we knew they would be better for the start and then it was all about trying to survive until the end. It was quite tricky at the end but Max [Verstappen] was still struggling to follow in some corners, so I’m glad it worked out perfectly.”
He added: “I’m also pleased Lewis managed to get up to fifth place, so that means there will be plenty of opportunities for tomorrow and we can still, even with the issues this weekend, have a great result tomorrow.”
Tomorrow will be pretty open in terms of strategy for every team, we can start with whatever tyre and we’re going to try and make the best plan we can
Bottas revealed that Mercedes’ initial plan was to start on the mediums, but they were pleasantly surprised by the pace of used softs in final practice and thus changed their mind.
“We used softs [in FP2] because we thought the mediums would be better for the Sprint. But then we realised the soft was a bit better than what we expected so we started to have a look at it, in terms of using them for the Sprint, even though we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. That means we have plenty of tyres for tomorrow, so let’s see what we come up with.”
Bottas will have Verstappen alongside him on the front row, with team mate Hamilton in 10th – following his five-place grid penalty for an engine component change, and is optimistic about his chance of converting pole.
“Obviously starting from the pole, I’m hoping to keep the lead and go from there,” he said. “Tomorrow will be pretty open in terms of strategy for every team, we can start with whatever tyre and we’re going to try and make the best plan we can.”