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F1 | Mexico GP | Bottas talks fastest lap attempt and Verstappen discusses his efforts to stop it

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas endured a difficult race on Sunday after his first lap clash with Ricciardo, but played an important role in taking the fastest lap point from Red Bull and Verstappen.

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F1 | Mexico GP | Bottas talks fastest lap attempt and Verstappen discusses his efforts to stop it
Fuente imagen: @ValtteriBottas on twitter

Following his impressive performance in qualifying for the Mexican Grand Prix on Saturday, Valtteri Bottas suffered a major blow at turn 1 on Sunday with a charging Daniel Ricciardo hitting the rear of his Mercedes sending him into a spin. The Finn struggled to make up ground following the incident due to overheating issues with his brakes when closely following other cars.

“It was as hard we expected, like it was in 2019.” He said. “A big thing here when you’re behind is to not overheat the engine and the brakes so, then you can’t push, you have to do a lot of lift and coast.”

This setback left Mercedes fighting two charging Red Bulls single handedly at the front. Bottas played a key role in the teams’ damage limitation towards the end of the race however. With the Finn firmly outside of the points scoring positions, Mercedes took the decision to pit him for soft tyres in order to take the fastest lap point away from their rivals.

Bottas’ first attempt to steal the fastest lap point was ruined when he came across leader Max Verstappen on track while a lap down, leading to an interesting exchange between the pair during which Bottas unlapped himself before conceding the position once again.

“The team told me I can overtake if I’m faster,” said Bottas when asked about the exchange. “Then I got blue flags again and it was a bit messy.”

This situation prompted discussion on whether or not Verstappen should have allowed Bottas to pass in order to remove himself from a potential incident reminiscent of his collision with Esteban Ocon at the 2018 Brazilian Grand Prix costing Verstappen the race victory. Verstappen has stated he was not worried about an incident as he knows Bottas’ clean driving style.

“Well, I mean I can understand, of course, they go for the fastest lap,” said Verstappen in the post-race press conference. “So, the first time it didn’t work out but we played it safe, I think. We were side by side but it was all good. We lost a lot of time but it was alright, to be honest, for me. I know Valtteri, he’s a clean driver anyway and I never was in doubt that something would happen.”

While the poorly timed catching of Verstappen would cost Bottas the fastest lap on his first attempt, the team, having nothing to lose, elected to pit him once again for another set of soft tyres with which he would go on to set the fastest lap at the end of the grand prix.

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