Valtteri Bottas’ post-race debrief would have been an interesting watch based on a little interaction between him and Toto Wolff in the Bahrain pit lane.
The Finn could only play a very minor role in the season opener as team-mate Sir Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull rival Max Verstappen stole the show in their tense battle for the win.
While Bottas was off the pace all weekend, he was not helped by a rare slow stop by his pit crew and was particularly irked by the race strategy that was given to him.
Bottas, who did say earlier this year that he was going to be more demanding and selfish in his quest for World Championship glory, said in the Bahrain paddock that the race plan was “too defensive” and “too passive”.
And, it appears, he was wasting little time in questioning it with his team boss, who cut the conversation off during the Mercedes celebrations in front of the garage.
Went all the way back to record it. Valtteri talking to Toto and he cuts him off 🤔 pic.twitter.com/2Vs9oaOmDm
— Junaid #JB17 (@JunaidSamodien_) March 28, 2021
Wolff, meanwhile, has defended Bottas’ race strategy, saying there was very little option to go down an alternative route with him.
“I think there wasn’t any strategy on the table,” said Wolff.
“Because we tried to undercut also with Valtteri that I think would change race for him or make his race not.
“The outcome we wouldn’t wish for was that he lost a position at the start of the race and he kind of couldn’t recover the gap to the two guys in front.
“The pit stop was there to undercut Max, and I think we would probably have been successful, but we had a problem with the right front wheel gun.
“And then I don’t know what other strategy we could have run. The one stop was clearly not possible.
“The medium wouldn’t have made it to the end, the hard in the middle stage was running out of performance. There was no other option available.
“I totally understand the frustration in the car when you have limited information and say ‘I think we could have done something else.’”
Bottas’ frustration was also picked up on by the Sky Sports F1 presenting team, with ex-driver Paul Di Resta saying the Finn’s open criticism will put “pressure” on Mercedes.