Valtteri Bottas does not believe he was too harsh in how he criticized Mercedes’ strategy at the French Grand Prix, which he thinks cost him a chance at victory.
Red Bull’s decision to pit Max Verstappen a second time ultimately forced Mercedes to leave both Lewis Hamilton and Bottas out until the end on a one-stop strategy in an attempt to stay ahead.
This ultimately cost Bottas a spot on the podium, as he was caught by Verstappen and then Sergio Perez in the closing laps as he lost grip on his old tyres. At one stage, as it dawned on him that he would not get a top three finish, Bottas sent an angry radio message to Mercedes.
He said: “Why the f— does no one listen to me when I say it’s going to be a two-stopper?! F—ing hell.”
Bottas did not feel he had crossed a line with the tone of his message.
“No, no concerns,” he said about the message. “I was making very clear what I was thinking. I was suggesting two stops, earlier in the race, but the team decided it was going to be one stop. So we went for a one stop.”
Bottas thought he would have had a shot at victory had Mercedes listened to his advice.
“I think the winning strategy today was a two-stop. It is easy to say afterwards but that is how it is.”
“As a team I think we were too focused on completing the one stop thinking it was the best but it wasn’t.
“I had no front tyres left for the last 10, 15 laps so it was really just trying to get the car home. It was not fun, the last stint.”
He added: “If I did a two-stop for sure we would have been on the podium and fighting for the win.”