Valtteri Bottas said Mercedes left the door wide open for Max Verstappen to win the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone.
Bottas led away from pole position and controlled the early spell of the race, but Verstappen was on an alternate strategy and jumped ahead in the first pit-stop window. Bottas would lose second position to Mercedes teammate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton in the closing laps.
The result saw Bottas drop to third in the championship, behind Verstappen, and fall to 34 points behind Hamilton. The Finn was not happy with how Mercedes had handled his strategy on Sunday.
Speaking immediately after the race, Bottas said: “Very frustrating, obviously, starting from pole and finishing third, it’s not ideal. As a team we were sleeping at some point, when Max got ahead of us and my strategy was far, far from ideal, so we have a lot to learn from today.”
Bottas briefly got ahead of Verstappen after the second stop, but the Dutchman got back ahead immediately.
When asked when he felt the race slipping away, he said: “When I lost the track position to Max.
“I was asking the team if I could go faster, because I was managing the tyres around that time, but I got the message that keeping the tyres in good condition was still the priority. Then, obviously, Max came out of the pits pretty much side by side and got me into Turns 6 and 7, so then I knew it could be tricky.
“I was hoping there would be opportunities, but then the middle stint was quite short and when I saw Max stopping at the same time as me, I knew it was going to be tricky. Towards the end of the last stint I tried to push flat out, to create opportunities and I was catching him slightly, but then the tyres gave up completely. I think that, for me, I should have definitively gone longer in the second stint. The last stint was way too long and that’s when I also lost the position to Lewis.”
Speaking about Hamilton getting past, he said: “Of, course I was trying [to stay ahead], if there was a chance, to keep up with Max, but as soon as I started to push, towards the end, the tyres just fell apart. There was a lot of blistering on the tyres for us today and it seems like Red Bull had none, so they clearly have an edge over there.”