Toto Wolff voiced his joy at Valtteri Bottas “finally letting it out” after an incorrect strategy call cost him a podium at the French Grand Prix.
Mercedes were caught out as Max Verstappen returned the approach the Silver Arrows had used to overhaul him in Barcelona – switching to an extra pit stop for Lewis Hamilton, who went on to take victory.
The World Championship leader managed to reel in both Bottas and Hamilton, taking the lead on the penultimate lap to extend his advantage at the top of the standings.
Things went from bad to worse for the Finn, however, after Sergio Perez managed to make his way past on fresher tyres to snatch P3 in the closing stages.
Bottas was not happy over team radio after losing out on a podium place, saying: “Why the f*** did no-one listen to me when I said it was going to be a two-stopper? F****** hell.”
Bad luck has befallen Bottas on numerous occasions in his time as a Mercedes driver, most recently with his botched pit stop in Monaco that cost him the chance of a race win on the day.
But his team principal thinks, with the Finn having such a level-headed personality, this display of anger was long overdue from his driver when something didn’t go his way.
Wolff told Sky Germany after the race: “I find it great. Finally he starts to criticise! He’s finally letting it out and it’s a joy to watch!”
— Planet F1 (@Planet_F1) June 20, 2021
The consensus heading into the weekend was that the race would be a one-stopper, but tyre degradation proved to be a significant issue throughout the grid on Sunday.
After dropping to P4 by the end of a promising afternoon for Bottas, having spent a significant part of proceedings as part of a three-way fight for victory, he felt he had “no chance” with the strategy he was on.
“I think the winning strategy today was two-stop,” he said to Sky Sports in the paddock after the race.
“It’s easy to say afterwards, but that’s how it is. I can guess the team were too focused on just 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 [about] trying to get the car home – so it was not fun today in the last stint.
“Of course, I tried everything I could, tried to finish on the podium but my tyres were completely gone, so no chance.
“Another learning point this weekend, we thought with the cooler temps that the tyres would hold on better, but they didn’t.
“I think our predictions in terms of tyre life didn’t match reality. If I did a two-stop, for sure I would have been on the podium, fighting for the win of the race – that’s for sure.”