Wolff: Pitting Bottas the only way to take second in F1 Hungary race

Toto Wolff says Mercedes' decision to pit Valtteri Bottas late on in Formula 1's Hungarian Grand Prix was the only way he could have snatched second place from Max Verstappen

Wolff: Pitting Bottas the only way to take second in F1 Hungary race

After dropping to sixth on the opening lap following a near-jump start, Bottas managed to fight his way back up to third nearing the final 20 laps of the race.

Bottas put pressure on Red Bull driver Verstappen in second after closing up a seven-second gap, only to be called into the pits for a third stop at the end of Lap 49.

The decision to pit Bottas dropped him more than 20 seconds back from Verstappen, and while he was able to close the gap with a fresh set of tyres, he fell 0.750 seconds short of the Red Bull at the line.

Mercedes team principal Wolff explained after the race that Bottas was struggling with graining on his tyres in the second stint as a result of his pursuit of Verstappen, meaning the only chance to pass the Red Bull came by changing strategy.

"No, it would have been wrong [to keep him out] because Valtteri's tyre started to grain on the left-front quite heavily because he was pushing so hard," Wolff explained.

"We think he would have run out of tyre anyway, and putting him onto a new hard, [in] a similar way like last year with Lewis [Hamilton], was actually the only chance of trying to snatch P2.

"At the end it wasn't sufficient. There was quite a lot of traffic in-between that we didn't clear fast enough, and I think it was a recovery drive."

Bottas was initially able to gain close to two seconds per lap on Verstappen after pitting, only for his pace to drop off as he struggled in traffic.

The Finn said he initially thought it was the right decision to pit and enjoy the huge tyre delta that allowed team-mate Hamilton to beat Verstappen to victory in Hungary last year.

"At that time it felt like a good thing to do because the tyre difference between me and Max was quite minimal," Bottas said.

"If I would not stop, everyone knows how difficult it is to overtake on this track, so I was quite happy at that point to stop, because I knew there was a bigger tyre difference at the end and it nearly worked.

"Obviously there were quite a few backmarkers I had to go through. [I] lost a bit of time during that and in the end it was a matter of one extra lap or two laps.

"You can see the big picture. It was obvious in the end I was quite a bit quicker, obviously thanks also to fresher tyres, but that was not quite enough."

shares
comments
Impossible for Racing Point F1 brake ducts to be illegal, says Szafnauer
Previous article

Impossible for Racing Point F1 brake ducts to be illegal, says Szafnauer

Next article

Ferrari set to consider F1 organisational changes after poor start to 2020

Ferrari set to consider F1 organisational changes after poor start to 2020
The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche Plus

The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche

OPINION: Everything looked set for Red Bull and Porsche to join forces for the 2026 season, before the marriage between both parties was called off. While at the time it looked like a major coup for Formula 1 in gaining both VW Group powerhouses Audi and Porsche for 2026, Red Bull and Porsche have really been spared a potentially fractious relationship.

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Plus

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2022
The forgettable final car of a former F1 giant that gave Damon Hill his start Plus

The forgettable final car of a former F1 giant that gave Damon Hill his start

While it launched the F1 career 
of a future world champion, STUART CODLING recalls that the BT60 was also the final nail in the coffin of a once-great marque 30 years ago. Here is its story

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2022
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Plus

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Autosport in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Plus

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022