Formula 1 2020: Mercedes' Valteri Bottas says he was made to look 'like a fool' by stand-in George Russell in Sakhir GP

The Mercedes pair finished eighth and ninth, with Bottas ahead, after an action-filled race, but it was Russell who shone as he had a stunning maiden victory taken from him by a bungled pit stop and a late puncture.

Agence France-Presse December 07, 2020 17:05:11 IST
Formula 1 2020: Mercedes' Valteri Bottas says he was made to look 'like a fool' by stand-in George Russell in Sakhir GP

Mercedes' Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas drives during the Sakhir Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit. AFP

Manama: Valtteri Bottas admitted he was made to look "like a fool" in Sunday's Sakhir Grand Prix when Lewis Hamilton's substitute George Russell outperformed him with a stellar, if unrewarded, drive.

The Mercedes pair finished eighth and ninth, with Bottas ahead, after an action-filled race, but it was Russell who shone as he had a stunning maiden victory taken from him by a bungled pit stop and a late puncture.

Bottas, who started from pole position, lost the lead at the start and struggled to mount a challenge as the young Briton, standing in for COVID-19 victim Hamilton, showed pace and poise at the front for 62 laps.

"If you don't know things, I might have looked like a complete fool, so that's not nice," said Bottas.

"But the people who know, they know how the performance was and how the end result could have been.

"It was a pretty bad race for me and it's easy for people to say that a new guy comes in and he beats the guy who has been in the team a few years — so it was not ideal. I knew that in the first stint, with the medium tyre, that the track position would be important. So obviously it was unfortunate to lose that.

"But in the second stint, I was catching him at a pretty decent rate."

Bottas's bid to respond to Russell was undone when they both pitted during a safety car period and Mercedes muddled up their tyres.

"It's hard to explain the feeling when you come to a pit stop and you leave with the same old tyres that you came in with — and then lose positions," said the Finn.

"Obviously, a big mistake from the team that will be analysed and learned from — it was a nightmare being on the old tyres that had lost temperature. I was like a sitting duck."

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