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Formula 1 in France: It's going to be tight for Bottas


Red Bull continues to put Mercedes under pressure with a strong team performance in France. Valtteri Bottas had to fend off speculation about his imminent end - and did not manage to stop Max Verstappen.

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Valtteri Bottas after the race: "Shit!"



Mercedes is weakening:

Since Le Castellet returned to the Formula 1 calendar in 2018, Mercedes achieved two safe victories through Lewis Hamilton - and the world champion also showed a good driver performance on Sunday. But in 2021 that will no longer be enough. Because if you watched Max Verstappen in the Red Bull as he almost effortlessly overtook Hamilton on the penultimate lap, you can see just as easily that the racing team is no longer the undisputed number one. In France, several reasons came together: Mercedes has problems on the straights, let Red Bull impose the strategy on them and in the end Valtteri Bottas failed in his important role of keeping his teammate from the fast Verstappen. And just like the racing team, the Finns continue to come under pressure.

The result:

With the chosen two-stop strategy, Verstappen prevailed ahead of Hamilton, Sergio Pérez completed the podium in the second Red Bull.

Red Bull has won three races in a row for the first time since 2014.

Read the race report here.

World championship strategy - from Red Bull:

After Hamilton after the first stop his

Had already lost the lead to Verstappen, Red Bull relied on a two-stop strategy on lap 33. It was not planned in advance, Verstappen said afterwards in an interview with Sky - but it paid off because the racing team ultimately benefited from the fresher tires. Mercedes, on the other hand, left its drivers outside, which both responded naggingly. "I ran out of tires and lost my place," said Hamilton. Bottas found the race "disappointing". Red Bull had shown that two stops was the winning strategy, »you should have been prepared for that earlier. The second stint was a long one, we got in very early, ”he said. During the race, the Finn cursed on the radio: “Why the hell don't you listen to me when I say it's a two-stop race? Shit! "

Not a good time for driving mistakes:

Bottas had reason to be annoyed beforehand, because on lap 44 Verstappen started to overtake in order to continue his hunt for Hamilton, who was leading at the time - and it was much too easy. In turn eight, the Dutchman approached Bottas, who tried to block inside, but fell slightly off the track due to a driving error with old tires and no longer had a chance to defend his position and act as a buffer between Hamilton and Verstappen for as long as possible .

Bottas has to fend off rumors:

For Bottas, who is only fifth in the drivers' standings, the lapse comes at an inopportune time. During the week he denied media reports about his allegedly already established end at Mercedes at the end of the season. Several international media had announced in the days before that Bottas will be replaced by the British George Russell, who is currently still driving at Williams. Contract negotiations with Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff have not yet taken place, Bottas said on Thursday: "We haven't discussed anything yet, that's coming."

The thing with the worm:

After the race, Wolff tried to defend Bottas and try to limit the damage. "The worm is in somewhere," he said at Sky, it had been a consideration of the strategy, today the weaker card was drawn. When asked what speaks for Bottas at the moment, he replied: "Today's race". The rough words on the radio were supposedly okay too: “Valtteri is finally letting something out. It's a pleasure to look at. "Bottas drove" extremely strong ", because of the lack of pace he had little to oppose to Verstappen," it wouldn't have been enough anyway ". But it is also clear that the world title is not guaranteed this season, so the performance of both drivers is all the more important.

World Cup fight in the radio hole:

There were problems in France not only with the choice of strategy, but also with its communication. In this case, however, at Red Bull and Mercedes. On lap 38, Red Bull could not understand Verstappen and asked him to put his microphone back into position. Two laps later, Hamilton couldn't hear his engineer, who then had to change his headphones. In the final phase of the race, however, Hamilton would have been right: "Let me just do it now, please," he said on lap 49 and asked for radio silence - the focus was solely on driving the victory to the finish.

What's next:

Since Hamilton didn't succeed, Verstappen expanded his championship lead to twelve points after the seventh race. The horsepower entourage moves on to the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg / Austria, where they will drive on June 27th and July 4th in a row.

Source: spiegel

All sports articles on 2021-06-25

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