Valtteri Bottas did not lose by driving the Imola race. Lewis Hamilton turned the race to his advantage, once again, taking full advantage of his teammate’s problems. Everyone opposed, both on the track and in the cabinets.
In an eyebrow-raising way.
A piece of the front wing detached from Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari, of course, wedged from the Mersu drivers into Bottas’ car. It scrapped driveability. Bottas himself spoke of a downforce reduction of up to 50 percent. If this is true, second place is a performance worth hat-raising.
The collapse of lap times prevented Bota from fighting. Victory would still have been a utopia.
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However, the reason was not in Mersu’s depot tactics. The stable worked sensibly by first inviting a Finn to the depot.
The team was forced to take into account the threat of Max Verstappen. The Red Bull driver, who was in second place, started a depot game for the top drivers, forcing Mersu to react.
Bottas came to the depot immediately after the Verstappen stop. With this, the stable prevented the Dutch from trying undercutia, getting ahead with a previous depot visit.
Hamilton stayed on the track, which opened up an opportunity for the British overcutiin. When he got the free trail, Hamilton was under attack. We once again got a testament to Hamilton’s greatest strength, its ability to keep the tires functional even when driving after another.
Mercedes managed to prevent Verstappen from rising ahead of the Finns during Bottas’ depot visit. If the car were okay, Bottas would have been able to load competitive laps with fresh tires.
Now everything rained down on Hamilton’s lair. Slow Bottas not only lost precious time, but also served as a stopper for the faster Verstappen.
The race was finally decided by the jury.
Esteban Oconin’s Renault froze along the track in lap 28.
I’ve written about this before. The jury brings a virtual safety car (VSC) to the track on far too frivolous grounds. That’s what happened again.
Ocon’s car was in a safe place on the side of the track. Straight. Near the opening of the security fence. Yellow flags would have been enough.
Now the jury felt it necessary to slow down the drivers ’course across the course. It didn’t make any sense.
A depot visit cost about 25 seconds under normal conditions. Not even 15 seconds behind a virtual security car. Hamilton benefited enormously from this.
Also special is the time window when the VSC was in operation. It was imposed over a lap after being left on the Ocon track. It was taken off almost immediately after Hamilton had visited the depot.
As stated at the beginning, Bottas lost the competition on many issues. Above all, a piece of scrap that came off Ferrari.
Maybe even good so, because it covered under the guise of a virtual security car.