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Mercedes explain failure that 'cost Bottas any chance of second' in Portugal

Mercedes explain failure that 'cost Bottas any chance of second' in Portugal

F1 News

Mercedes explain failure that 'cost Bottas any chance of second' in Portugal

Mercedes explain failure that 'cost Bottas any chance of second' in Portugal

Mercedes motorsport strategy director James Vowles has explained the problem that denied Valtteri Bottas the opportunity to challenge Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen at the Portuguese Grand Prix.

Bottas finished third at Portimão but, after battling with championship rivals Hamilton and Verstappen in the early stages of the race, a sensor problem and a miscalculation of the undercut led team principal Toto Wolff to declare Mercedes had 'let Bottas down'.

Explaining the problem suffered by Bottas, Vowles said in a Mercedes video: “On lap 54 of the race, Valtteri, coming to the start/finish straight, lost straight-line speed, a significant amount of straight-line speed, enough to lose a few seconds of race time. And that carried through into the following lap.

"We have a number of sensors all over the car as you would imagine, but especially around the power unit and the sensor is there to make sure we protect the power unit in case of trouble. In this case, the power unit actually was perfectly fine, but one of the sensors was reading very inaccurate numbers and put the engine into a protection mode, effectively trying to, if this was true, protect the power unit."

Strangely, Vowles added the problem was fixed when the sensor in question failed completely.

"After a short period of time, those two laps, the sensors actually failed and as a result of it, the power unit returned back to normal power, there was nothing more that had to be done," he said.

"We obviously also have, and we were looking through it, at our disposition, a number of ways of modifying what the power unit does in terms of recovery strategy.

"So, we have default modes that you may have heard called over the radio, which allow us to fix off specific sensors that may be troubled.

"Ultimately, this cost Valtteri any chance at all of getting back to second place. He had done to that point an incredible job to close the gap back down to Verstappen and he was on his gearbox about to pressure him.”

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