start sprint bottas

Bottas: The start was the key thing and I got a good one!

bottas leads start sao paulo grand prix-001

When Valtteri Bottas is good he is very good. Today he showed it by winning the 2021 Sao Paulo Sprint to claim pole position for Sunday’s race.

He might have got it wrong in Mexico six days ago when he was ambushed by Max Verstappen into Turn 1 but, at Interlagos, on Saturday it was role reversal as he blitzed past the Dutchman, who started on pole, as the Finn this time won the short drag race into Turn 1, and thereafter the race.

Today it was quite the opposite, on Pirelli softs, the Mercedes was simply better in the second phase of the start than the Red Bull. Nipping ahead, Bottas then managed his pace and controlled the race, managing to keep Verstappen at bay, even when the Blue car was in DRS range of the Black one.

In the end, Verstappen ran out of ammo in that he could get close but nothing more and thus Bottas claimed the three points for his team.

Afterwards, Bottas said in the Mercedes team report: “The start was the key thing for me and I got a good one! We gambled a little bit with the soft tyre. We knew that it would be a benefit for the start and it worked and it was all about trying to survive until the end.

“It was quite tricky in the final laps but Max still struggled to follow in the corners, so I’m glad it worked out perfectly. The support here from the fans has been amazing here, so thank you as well to everybody who came out!”

Mercedes trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin was impressed with Bottas: “It’s been long, busy and difficult day but we finished on a high. A fantastic drive from Valtteri to secure pole for the race.

“It was a calculated risk starting on the soft tyre but it worked well for us in the morning and the grip off the line helped us take the lead. Valtteri then had his work cut out to hold Max at bay with a tyre that ultimately has more degradation but he managed it brilliantly.

“It was also encouraging to see the car working so well again, the conditions were quite cool and that may have helped us to follow closely but it certainly seems that we have good pace around this track. Winning these championships will be one of the toughest challenges we have ever faced but today reminds us why we must never give up,” added Shovlin.