6 8 points in six races: Except for the season opener, Do not let Valtteri Bottas get into debt. Without the blowout in Baku, his account would be 25 points richer. Which would put him in a more comfortable situation in the World Cup. The Finn is doomed to catch up 42 points on his team-mate if he actually wants to achieve the goal of winning the World Cup.
Monaco was a losing weekend in this regard. The Finn lost five points to Lewis Hamilton, eight to Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo slipped past to third place in the World Championship. In the end, it was the mixed qualification that brought Bottas out of all chances even before the start of the 78 laps. “Our car is not the best. In such situations Lewis gets more out of the package, ”said Niki Lauda after starting positions three and five.
No getting past Raikkonen
The start did not bring any position gains. Like the remaining 1:42 hours. Front man Kimi Raikkonen kept breaking away from the car with the starting number 77. Like Ricciardo, Bottas endured 17 laps on the softest tire compound Hypersoft. “They were our weak point,” says Bottas.
The second part of the race started with a gap of 27.391 seconds to Ricciardo and almost 14 seconds to Räikkönen. Mercedes tacted with Bottas and instead of the Ultrasoft buckled on the Supersoft. A tire that only Hamilton, McLaren, Kevin Magnussen and Marcus Ericsson had really tried on Thursday. 'A tire that was unusable for us, but worked best of all compounds in the race,' said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.
Bottas only had one super soft set on offer for the entire weekend. The new rubber should bring him back to the leadership group. “The performance of the supersoft was a surprise. I could lean on him nicely in the corners. ”By lap 28, the gap to Ricciardo was halved. The gap to Raikkonen has been closed by round 30.
But the man in the faster car couldn't find a way around it. “Kimi's rear tires were in good condition. His Ferrari had good traction. That made it impossible to stay on the curve in front of the tunnel. On the home stretch it's easy to defend yourself. Even if the man behind has DRS. In two situations I had the feeling that I should try it, but then I didrefrain. ”
Bottas hoped in vain that his strategy would pay off. With the supersofts, which according to Pirelli can be at least 90 degrees and a maximum of 110 degrees in order to provide decent grip, he could easily drive through. According to Pirelli's calculations, the red-marked rubbers would have survived a whole race distance. Ricciardo slowed down the pace with the defective MGU-K. And the ultra-soft tires forced everyone to drive with throttling. So the four men in front got through without an additional stop. “My hope that they would have to change a second time was unfortunately not fulfilled. Getting stuck is frustrating. Without Kimi in front of me, I could have driven 1.5 seconds faster. But there is simply nothing you can do on this route. ”