Valtteri Bottas believes his team’s push to complete the French Grand Prix on a one-stop strategy cost him a guaranteed podium and a shot at the win.
Bottas eventually finished the race fourth after he was passed by Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez in the closing laps of the race, with Red Bull’s drivers running much younger tyres after race winner Verstappen stopped twice and Perez delayed his first and only stop to ensure he had better tyres for a late attack.
Bottas revealed that he agreed prior to the race that a two-stop was the way to go, but the team pushed for him to complete just the one stop in the race, a decision he was clearly unhappy with if his team radio was anything to go by.
“Why the f**k does no one listen to me when I say it’s going to be a two-stopper?!” F**king hell,” was the radio message to the team after he dropped to fourth place.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the race, Bottas said he wanted to make his feelings clear over team radio.
“I think the winning strategy today was a two-stop. It is easy to say afterwards but that is how it is,” said the Finnish driver.
“As a team I think we were too focussed on completing the one stop thinking it was the best but it wasn’t.”
Asked if he was too harsh on the radio, he replied: “No, no concerns. I was making very clear what I was thinking. I was suggesting a two-stop earlier in the race but the team went one-stop and here we are.”
Bottas believes he could have fought for the win if the team had listened to him: “If I did a two-stop for sure we would have been on the podium and fighting for the win.”
Mercedes then opted not to pit Bottas for the final lap to capture the fastest lap point, believing Perez would get a penalty for his overtake, but the stewards opted not to penalise the Mexican driver.
“In Turn 10 he was on the outside and he went slightly wide, so I don’t know… but I think it was a matter of time for him to get through [but] we thought Sergio might get a penalty…” explained Bottas.