Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said the car was “nowhere” for Valtteri Bottas at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and so the Finn lost confidence.
The German squad began the race weekend well off their usual pace, with breaking into the top 10 even proving a struggle by the end of Friday practice.
But while Lewis Hamilton found the key to recovery, ultimately qualifying P2, Bottas never found such pace and lined up on the Baku grid in P10.
The race was no better as Bottas failed to make progress and once the race restarted after a late tyre failure for Max Verstappen, Bottas sunk further still and out of the points, ultimately finishing P12.
Wolff did not point the finger at Bottas though, instead stating his W12 was nowhere, and so around a “city circuit” that left the Finn all out of sorts.
“The car was nowhere, and when the car is nowhere on a city circuit you lose on confidence,” Wolff told Sky F1.
Mercedes thus remain very wary of street circuits, with Monaco and now Baku proving they do not suit the W12 very well.
But Wolff said it was not the 90-degree corners where most damage was done, instead the tight and technical sections between turns seven to 10.
“The 90-degree corners we have actually been quite competitive, it was all through the twisty [turns] seven to 10,” said Wolff as he explained where Mercedes were losing time.
“You could see in the middle sector we were really close. The car was quicker on the straight, but the middle sector was a total shocker.”
Same boss. Same. pic.twitter.com/fvcMBom1Rh
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) June 6, 2021
Bottas then was left to reflect on a day when he simply did not have the pace, just like in qualifying. The late race restart was a particular low as “cars passed left and right”.
“The feeling was actually quite similar to yesterday. We don’t quite understand it but we definitely don’t have enough pace,” he is quoted as saying by Motorsport-Magazin.
“From the start it was difficult. I think an Aston Martin got in front of me, he was clearly faster. And one of the weaknesses of our car this year is the tyre warm-up – at the restart I had no chance, the cars passed left and right. That was no fun.”