Valtteri Bottas expressed his surprise at an unexpected Mercedes engine failure that forced him to retire from Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix, just two weeks after his maiden Formula One triumph.
The Finn, who claimed victory in Russia, said he had no inkling of the power unit problem despite knowing that it was an old engine that had been re-fitted to his car on Saturday.
“I was feeling good and I wasn’t thinking about the engine at all,” he said. “For me, the problem was that I didn’t have enough pace from the start of the stint so we had changed strategy. We tried to go for a one-stop race and I think it could have paid off without those two guys in front – Lewis (Hamilton) and Seb (Vettel). In the end, it was just luck. We were told that the engine could do one more race, but it seems like it could not take it anymore.”
Bottas was also involved in the first lap crash at Turn One that eliminated both compatriot Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari and Dutch teenager Max Verstappen of Red Bull.
“I was on the inside in Turn One and Kimi came and tried to overtake. I tried to carry speed and, for sure, we didn’t collide on purpose. It was just very unlucky – it was just a small touch really.”
That coming together between the two Finns saw the other two drivers collide and crash out.
Bottas was then reduced to playing a supporting role for Hamilton’s bid to win on an alternative strategy.
“I was trying to do everything I could and I knew I didn’t have the pace at that point,” he said. “We were on a different strategy, too, so I tried to do my part for as long as I could.”