Bottas worried: ‘Set-up isn’t really for the wet’

Michelle Foster
Valtteri Bottas Mercedes W12. Belgium August 2021

Valtteri Bottas sits in the cockpit of his Mercedes W12 in the team's garage. Belgium August 2021

Valtteri Bottas could struggle to recover from his grid penalty at Spa, the Finn worried that his W12 isn’t set-up for the wet.

Bottas qualified down in eighth place for Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix, his troubles exacerbated by his five-place grid penalty for causing a multi-car collision at the start of the Hungarian GP.

As such he will start round 12 of the season from 12th place on the grid, moving up one place after Lando Norris’ gearbox penalty was applied, with the Mercedes driver concerned that his car set up more for the dry.

And the weather forecast is for anything but dry.

“Definitely, the set-up wasn’t really for the wet,” Bottas said on Saturday evening. “As a team, we ran quite low wing levels too.

“I hope at least tomorrow at some point it is going to be dry and we will have overtaking.”

Asked by GPFans if he was facing a race of ‘survival’ if rained, he replied: “If it is like this, yes, getting to the end will probably get you already quite far but there will be opportunities.

“It is not the best place to start but today shows anything can happen and probably tomorrow it will.”

F1 TV Pro is half price for two months! In order to claim this fantastic discount, click the following link and use the promo code SPA50 at checkout!*

*Offer expires at 23:59 on Sunday, August 29. Offer only available on Pro. Customers will need to take out a monthly subscription and this offer can only be redeemed on web. Offer not available in NL, FR or NZ.

The Mercedes driver, who was 2.737s off the pace in qualifying, blamed traffic for his disappointing showing.

“I was sure with the feeling I had in the car that top three should still be possible and obviously Lewis got top three,” he said.

“But the issue in Q3 on my slow lap, I had to back off too much for traffic and I just lost tyre temperature.

“I immediately started locking up in the last lap and that’s why it was not great.”

Worryingly for Mercedes, Pirelli say more of the same is forecast for Sunday’s grand prix.

“Similar conditions are expected for Sunday, so that particular challenge is set to continue,” said Pirelli’s F1 boss Mario Isola.

“The intermediate tyre, which was used for the bulk of Saturday’s running, showed itself to be capable of handling a wide variety of wet and drying conditions.

“Sunday’s strategy – where we don’t even know yet which type of tyres the drivers will be starting the race on – is going to be mainly about adapting to changing circumstances, as we saw throughout Saturday.”