Plane issues left Bottas delayed for five hours

Date published: June 3 2021 - Finley Crebolder

Valtteri Bottas Mercedes

Valtteri Bottas’ race weekend has not got off to the best start as a plane issue has delayed his journey from Finland to Baku.

The Finn took part in his pre-race media duties online and he revealed he had been waiting to fly for five hours, but he has since landed in Azerbaijan ahead of the weekend – which only adds to his recent record of hard luck.

The Mercedes man was the victim of a freak pit stop last time out in Monaco as, running comfortably in P2 after a strong start to the weekend, his team were unable to remove one of his wheels during his stop, forcing him to retire.

“I’m still in Finland. I should have been in Baku by now,” he told reporters over Zoom on Thursday morning.

Nevertheless, he is not too worried about the time lost and is confident he will be there sooner rather than later.

“We are well prepared as a team. Hopefully, I’ll be there in the evening.”

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After the pit-stop issue in Monte Carlo, team principal Toto Wolff placed some of the blame on Bottas himself, saying the Finn had stopped too early in the pit-box.

The driver says that surprised him and having looked at reports and replays he disagrees with this assessment, feeling there was nothing wrong with his positioning.

“I was surprised. I saw the video and for me it was pretty spot-on, where I stopped, so I was quite surprised,” he said.

“I wanted to see all of the reports where I stopped and I think I was like two or three centimetres off the centre line and if you get that accuracy normally, it’s pretty good.

“You can easily swing by 10 to 15 centimetres, so I thought it was pretty spot-on.”

Regardless, Bottas does not want to play the blame game, although he does admit he had some concerns about the pit-crew before the last race.

“As a matter of fact, it was one of my concerns already a few weeks ago that I raised to the team, so it didn’t come out of the blue. We know we are not perfect at pit-stops as a team,” he added.

“Also, in other areas, like tyre warm-up in qualifying, I knew going to Monaco it would be an issue and was one of the things I highlighted much before the weekend.

“We analysed everything in detail. We know we probably could have done a better job as a team and with the pit-stop, of course. It was a very honest and normal debrief from my side.”

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