Bottas reveals reason why he couldn't overtake Leclerc during Italian Grand Prix

09-09-2019 16:46
by Nicolás Quarles van Ufford
Bottas reveals reason why he couldn't overtake Leclerc during Italian Grand Prix

Italian Grand Prix runner-up Valtteri Bottas has revealed tyre degradation to be the main reason why couldn't hunt down race leader Charles Leclerc in the closing stages of the race, as the Finn came within DRS-range but never attempted an overtake. 

The five-time Grand Prix winner had much better race pace than Leclerc and Lewis Hamilton, the two drivers in front of him, and when he took P2 from his teammate, many were expecting an overtake on Leclerc.

However, Bottas couldn't close down the final second of the gap between himself and the Monegasque race leader, coming within DRS-range but never getting close enough to pounce. 

Bottas' team principal Toto Wolff said this bit of racecraft is something the number 77 needs to work on, although the 30-year-old himself said his tyre wear was the main reason he couldn't get past Leclerc.

“For sure at the beginning of the last stint I had five and a bit seconds to catch up so it means you can’t be cruising around to close the gap," Bottas was quoted by after the race at Monza.

"So for sure, ideally would have done more tyre management, but if I wanted a shot to win the race I had to push also to catch them and that was with a cost of some tyre drop-off."

Bottas suddenly found himself in second place after his teammate Lewis Hamilton made a rare mistake, locking up and going off-track at the first chicane. It meant the five-time Grand Prix winner needed to start chasing down race leader Leclerc earlier than he anticipated.

“I felt the last four laps I started to have a bit of trouble with the medium tyre. That made it more tricky and always when I got close enough I was definitely having some front locking under braking. I think Lewis had similar issues as well, he went straight once when I got him, actually.

“From our calculations to actually have proper chance of overtaking you need one second pace difference and I had maximum five tenths by the time I got close to Charles so obviously tricky. I tried everything I could but just a bit out of reach today.”

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