Valtteri Bottas has said it was “too early” to switch to soft tyres after suggesting an alternative strategy during the Portuguese Grand Prix.
The Finn, who had the race lead and then subsequently lost the race lead once Lewis Hamilton found his groove again, asked the Mercedes team whether the soft tyres were an option after Hamilton pitted for hard tyres on Lap 40.
But Bottas instead re-emerged from the pits with the same hard compound tyres and went on to finish 25.5 seconds behind record-breaker Hamilton in P2.
“I think we had to stop a bit too early,” Bottas explained as to why his request wasn’t granted.
“I think they could see and I could feel quite a lot of vibrations on the medium tyre set, so that’s means the tyres were really starting to be finished.
“And doing a stint that long with the soft tyre would have been a bit too risky so decided to take the points and breeze home.
“But I don’t think tyre management was the issue today, it was more the pace. Of course, we will look at that going forward.”
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Bottas is now 77 points behind Hamilton in the World Championship standings and conceded he simply had no answers to Hamilton’s charge ahead once the race settled down in Portugal.
“The start was nice,” Bottas said.
“I think maybe it looked a bit odd but there was actually quite a lot of rain so that’s why it was so slippery, especially with the medium tyres against the softs, you lose quite a bit in those conditions.
“I did enjoy it and it was probably the highlight of the race for me. After that, I couldn’t really match the pace of Lewis.
“I don’t know the reason why. He got close to me, overtook me, for me there was just nothing I could do. I was trying but I couldn’t go any faster.”