Mercedes: F1 tyre warm-up issue caused Bottas' Imola Q3 struggles

Mercedes believes a tyre warm-up issue caused Valtteri Bottas to struggle in Formula 1 qualifying for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix and slump to eighth place on the grid.

Mercedes: F1 tyre warm-up issue caused Bottas' Imola Q3 struggles

After losing out to Red Bull in the fight for pole at the Bahrain Grand Prix three weeks ago, Mercedes struck back at Imola as Lewis Hamilton topped qualifying on Saturday.

But team-mate Bottas endured a more difficult end to qualifying as he faded to eighth place in the final classification, finishing almost half a second off Hamilton’s lap time.

It marked a big setback for Bottas, who led both practices on Friday and topped Q1 with a lap time that would have placed him fourth on the grid had it been set in Q3.

Bottas said after the session that he had struggled with rear-end instability when it mattered in Q3, lacking confidence at corner-entry, and wanted Mercedes to check over his car to investigate what caused the problem.

“I couldn’t trust the rear end of the car, and it was something that I didn’t feel in the whole qualifying before that,” Bottas said.

“So I don’t know what happened. I need to investigate. For sure, [it’s] disappointing.”

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG, and James Allison, Technical Director, Mercedes AMG

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG, and James Allison, Technical Director, Mercedes AMG

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff explained after qualifying that both Bottas and Hamilton struggled with a tyre warm-up issue early in their Q3 laps, causing the deficit.

“Valtteri was pretty good all weekend in Turn 2 and 3, but both drivers had a warm-up issue at the beginning of the lap,” Wolff said.

“In Q1, once we were able to give Valtteri a second lap on the tyre, to bring in the temperatures, he was really very good. I think the Q1 lap, second Q1 lap, would have gotten him on P4.

“So it’s a warm-up issue, and we know exactly what it is, and Valtteri knows.

“But, nevertheless, he is in an OK position for the race tomorrow.”

Bottas lost four tenths of a second to Hamilton’s pole position time in the first sector alone, with the final gap standing at 0.487 seconds.

At the end of Q3, Hamilton lost one-tenth of a second compared to his best time through the first sector, and ultimately finished 0.022s down on his fastest lap time, but was nevertheless able to clinch pole position.

shares
comments

Related video

Miami Grand Prix joins F1 calendar for 2022 season

Previous article

Miami Grand Prix joins F1 calendar for 2022 season

Next article

Ricciardo needs to get rid of "old habits" at McLaren F1

Ricciardo needs to get rid of "old habits" at McLaren F1
Load comments
The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021 Plus

The figures Red Bull and Mercedes can't afford to see again in F1 2021

OPINION: An interloper squad got amongst the title contenders during Formula 1’s street-circuit mini-break, where Red Bull left with the points lead in both championships. But, as the campaign heads back to purpose-built venues once again, how the drivers of the two top teams compare in one crucial area will be a major factor in deciding which squad stays in or retakes the top spot

Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future Plus

Why Alfa's boss is ready for the task of securing a stronger F1 future

Two tenth places in recent races have lifted Alfa Romeo to the head of Formula 1's 'Class C' battle in 2021, but longer-term the Swiss-based squad has far loftier ambitions. With the new 2022 rules set to level out the playing field, team boss Frederic Vasseur has good reason to be optimistic, as he explained to Autosport in an exclusive interview

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction Plus

How Barnard’s revolutionary McLaren transformed F1 car construction

The MP4/1 was pioneering by choice, but a McLaren by chance. STUART CODLING relates the tangled (carbonfibre) weaves which led to the creation of one of motor racing’s defining cars

Formula 1
Jun 15, 2021
Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool Plus

Why the end is nigh for F1’s most dependable design tool

Windtunnel work forms the bedrock of aerodynamic development in Formula 1. But as PAT SYMONDS explains, advances in virtual research are signalling the end of these expensive and complicated relics

Formula 1
Jun 13, 2021
Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour Plus

Why polarising Mosley’s legacy amounts to far more than tabloid rumour

The newspapers, naturally, lingered over Max Mosley’s tainted family history and niche sexual practices. But this is to trivialise the legacy of a big beast of motor racing politics. STUART CODLING weighs the life of a man whose work for safety on both road and track has saved hundreds of thousands of lives, but whose penchant for cruelty remains problematic and polarising

Formula 1
Jun 12, 2021
Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture Plus

Why pragmatic Perez isn't fazed by no-nonsense Red Bull F1 culture

Sergio Perez has spent most of his career labouring in Formula 1’s midfield, wondering whether he’d ever get another shot at the big time. Red Bull has handed him that chance and, although life at the top is tough, the Baku winner is doing all the right things to get on terms with Max Verstappen, says BEN ANDERSON

Formula 1
Jun 11, 2021
What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight Plus

What the data tells us about the F1 2021 title fight

Formula 1 has been tracking car performance using timing loops mounted every 200m around each circuit – to the extent that it was able to anticipate Ferrari’s 'surprise’ pole in Monaco. PAT SYMONDS explains what this means for this season and beyond

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021
The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with Plus

The weighty issue F1 needs to find a balance with

OPINION: After consecutive street races with contrasting highlights, one theme stood out which has become a prevalent issue with modern Formula 1 cars. But is there a way to solve it or, at least, reach a happy middle ground to help all parties?

Formula 1
Jun 10, 2021