Valtteri Bottas' slow start in Spain down to grip, not clutch – Mercedes

Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) and Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) at Turn 1 in Spain

Mercedes says Valtteri Bottas' slow start from pole position during the Spanish Grand Prix was down to a lack of grip in the pole grid slot, not a clutch or mechanical issue.

Bottas lost out to team-mate Lewis Hamilton at the start of the race and was nearly passed by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel as all three arrived into Turn 1 side-by-side.

After the race, Bottas complained of some mystery clutch issues which he believed was the cause: "I had some issues with the clutch, some vibrations, which I’ve never had before. That’s why I got away slow. I’m keen to find out what happened."

Spanish Grand Prix: Race Result | Drivers' Standings | Constructors' Standings

However Mercedes does not believe that to be the case and simply blamed a lack of grip in the number one grid slot.

"We believe it was just a lack of grip on the pole position side," explained Sporting Director Ron Meadows.

"If you look at the starts of the support racers, more often than not the second position guy, or even the third or fourth had a better start than pole."

Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin added: "Also you get a bit of wheelspin, so the wheels and the clutch are slipping, there’s a bit of an interaction.

"We’re going to get all of the bits and have a good look at them this week to understand it.

"But, at the moment we believe the number one issue was actually the grip, not an issue with the car."

Hamilton's third victory meant he moved ahead of Bottas in the standings as Mercedes scored its fifth consecutive 1-2 finish and Meadows believes having two drivers fighting for victory each weekend can only be a benefit to the team.

"I believe it's going to go down to the wire [between them]," he said. "I think it's going to be very close all year, which is fantastic for us because they're pushing both sides of the garage along, making the car faster and the team operate at a higher level."