Valtteri Bottas says he felt he had sustained a tyre puncture on the opening lap of Formula 1’s Italian Grand Prix, as he tumbled down the order.
Bottas started from the front row of the grid but was overhauled by McLaren’s Carlos Sainz on the run to the first chicane, slipping down to third.
He was then out-muscled by Lando Norris into the second chicane and lost further spots to Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo through the remainder of the lap.
“On my side I had two contacts: I had one in Turn 2 and then a slightly bigger one in Turn 5, but still not like a massive contact,” he said.
“In Turn 6 I was on the outside and had quite a bit of understeer, then in Turn 7 I had quite a bit of understeer that it felt like a puncture.
“Then, out of Turn 7, the car was pulling a little bit to the right and to the left, so it didn’t feel right, so I was convinced I had a puncture coming into Turn 8.
“That’s why I wanted to make sure I wasn’t going to go straight in Turn 8, so I braked early, but then it actually kind of recovered and it was fine.
“So, I’m not sure if it was something on the tyre, if something was wrong with the car because of the contact. I haven’t heard anything yet about the corner weights but it felt really odd, so a very, very messy first lap.”
Bottas made little in-roads thereafter and while he made some gains after the red flag he recovered only to fifth, taking just three points out of Lewis Hamilton’s title lead.
“I didn’t have a great feeling all through the race,” said Bottas.
“I struggled to match any cars in those corners, with understeering and, also, at the same time, sliding.
“I don’t have an answer – I just couldn’t follow the cars ahead in those corners. Obviously, it’s pretty much only right-hand corners on this track, so if the car doesn’t turn right, it’s not ideal.
“It was pretty weird, because we knew we had a good car and we were pretty hopeful, especially after the red flag, but there was no way to move forward for me, I just couldn’t get any closer than 0.7s, maximum, to the car ahead.”