Valtteri Bottas admits that an order to let your team mate pass during a racing competition is the worst thing a driver could hear. The Finn was told by Mercedes to let Lewis Hamilon pass with just ten laps left of the Bahrain Grand Prix, making him to give up the second place he was on at that stage.
"Well, I think honestly as a racing driver it’s maybe the worst thing you want to hear. That’s how it is", Bottas admits.
"For sure I did it because there was potential. Lewis could challenge Sebastian. In the end it didn’t happen but the team tried which I completely understand but personally it is tough but that’s life. I didn’t have enough pace today and we need to find the reasons why that was."
Bottas started the race from pole position and finished in P3, with the help of a series of unfortunate events that cost him precious time in the race. The first loss came right on the grid when a generator failure left him with too high starting pressures, which limited his pace in the opening stint.
"I don’t know the exact issue but I was just told there was a problem with the tyre pressures, which I could really feel in the first stint since lap two. I was just sliding around with the rear end, struggling to get on power out of the corners, so the pace wasn’t good and Sebastian was really putting pressure and they could undercut us as well and trying to extend the first stint, I just couldn’t keep up with the pace. The tyres were just dropping.
"Then on the second stint it was a bit better initially. I think the second stint was not that far off. Still struggling with oversteer but much less than in the first one, and then the last stint, again, used the tools I had to adjust the car balance but still couldn’t get the rear end to work. Really strange race for me and the pace was disappointingly poor for me."
Mercedes got lucky with the Safety Car period which gave them an opportunity to recover but due to a problem with the wheel guns, Bottas lost again time.
"Under the Safety Car at the first stop there was a problem and we lost some time in the stop; maybe otherwise I would have just been in front but I know that the team will investigate the issue", he said.
Bottas is currently P3 (38) in the Drivers Standings, 23 points behind Hamilton and four in front of Kimi Räikkönen (34) in P4.