Sensor issue caused Bottas's power loss in Portugal F1 fight with Verstappen

Valtteri Bottas’s hopes of catching Max Verstappen for second in the Formula 1 Portuguese Grand Prix were dashed by a sensor issue that caused his engine to enter safety mode.

Sensor issue caused Bottas's power loss in Portugal F1 fight with Verstappen

Bottas led the opening stages of the race after qualifying on pole position, but was overtaken by Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton during the first stint.

The Finn slipped to third after Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was able to get the undercut and make a pass, only for the Mercedes driver to catch back up towards the end of the race.

But, after the gap dropped below two seconds, Bottas had two slow laps where he lost five seconds to Verstappen, reporting a loss of engine power.

His times then picked up, but he was unable to catch the Red Bull and ended up finishing the race in third place.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff explained that a faulty sensor had caused Bottas’s engine to enter a safety mode, costing him in the battle against Verstappen.

“That was unfortunate, because he really caught up well to Max, and then it kind of stabilised at 1.5, 1.6 seconds, but he had more to come at the end of the race,” Wolff said.

“We made a switch change, in order to basically override a sensor that was saying we are running too hot on exhaust temperatures, and we couldn’t override it.

“So the engine went in protection mode and cost him five seconds.”

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, passes Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W12, passes Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

Despite being passed by both Hamilton and Verstappen, Wolff felt that Bottas had a “very solid race” and struggled while leading the train of cars early on.

“It’s clear when you are in the front and just kicking a hole in the air, and the car behind you has DRS, that’s very difficult,” Wolff said.

“At that moment, Lewis opened up a bit of a gap, and was gone. But he controlled Max well. We lost the undercut, that was unfortunate, and then we let him down with the engine, that went into a safety mode.

“So all in all, I think like many times, it could have worked for Valtteri. We were pushing hard and continue to support him, and next time we’ll see what he’s capable of doing in Barcelona.”

Bottas was able to snatch a bonus point for setting the fastest lap of the race after pitting for a fresh set of tyres with three laps to go.

But the early stop gave enough time for Red Bull to pit Verstappen from second one lap later and attempt to take the bonus point.

Verstappen beat Bottas’s lap time by 0.016s, but had the effort deleted after exceeding track limits.

“We had a little bit of a stupid moment, it should have been the next lap,” Wolff said.

“But we learn and move on.”

shares
comments

Related video

Hamilton explains costly "split second" glance on F1 Portuguese GP restart

Previous article

Hamilton explains costly "split second" glance on F1 Portuguese GP restart

Next article

FIA maintains Raikkonen's Imola F1 penalty after Alfa Romeo review

FIA maintains Raikkonen's Imola F1 penalty after Alfa Romeo review
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Portuguese GP
Author Luke Smith
Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Plus

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to STUART CODLING, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion

Formula 1
May 15, 2021
Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row? Plus

Does Aston have a case in F1 2021’s big technical row?

Aston Martin claims Formula 1’s latest technical tweaks have cost it competitiveness – and that it’s the innocent victim of a regulatory stitch-up aimed at pegging back Mercedes. But is any of this actually true? It depends on who you ask, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
May 14, 2021
How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean? Plus

How long can F1 2021's brewing title battle stay clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But is their rivalry destined to end in broken shards of carbon fibre?

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight Plus

What the Spain result tells F1 about the next phase of the Mercedes/Red Bull title fight

OPINION: Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have recovered from their pre-season woes to take three wins from the opening four races of 2021. But each time Red Bull and Max Verstappen have pushed them hard. So, what clues did the latest round of that battle – the Spanish Grand Prix – tease about the next stage of the season?

Formula 1
May 12, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Plus

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Plus

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Plus

How Red Bull’s deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021