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Mercedes 'won't dominate' an F1 race this season - Bottas

Mercedes 'won't dominate' an F1 race this season - Bottas

F1 News

Mercedes 'won't dominate' an F1 race this season - Bottas

Mercedes 'won't dominate' an F1 race this season - Bottas
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Valtteri Bottas has ruled out any team dominating Formula 1 races this year due to the close-fought battle between Mercedes and Red Bull.

Bottas was involved in a tough scrap with Max Verstappen at Imola last year during a season in which Mercedes was in a class of its own.

But the Finn and the team are back at the Italian venue this term knowing they now face a vastly improved Red Bull.

After the duel between Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in the season-opening race in Bahrain, in which Mercedes came out on top, Bottas has played down the chances of either team running away with race victories this year.

"I think dominating a grand prix this year will be difficult, seeing the starting point," said Bottas.

"You never know. We have only seen the cars on one track and we have seen quite big swings in performance from track to track. You never know but I cannot see anyone dominating this season."

Whilst Red Bull showed blistering pace in qualifying in Bahrain, both drivers suffered from reliability issues during the race itself, with Sergio Perez grinding to a halt on the formation lap before managing to get going again, and Verstappen experiencing a differential issue.

With 22 races yet to be contested, Bottas highlighted the potential significance of reliability in determining the championship outcome but hesitated to suggest Mercedes was in a stronger position.

"In terms of the first grand prix, we were reliable but in the long term, when the cars are getting older and the engines are going to have more and more races on them, we are going to find out if we have issues or not," added Bottas.

"It can be a good asset to have. We have reliability and being consistent and always being in the points and minimising DNFs. It has always been a high priority at Mercedes.

"This year for sure will be as well. It is not only the performance, but it is also that that counts."

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