Bottas loses it all at the start
Hamilton’s victory was never in doubt as he made a clean getaway from pole position, then settled down for an afternoon of tyre management, in a race that never sizzled as much as the summer temperatures. And yet again, in stark contrast to Hamilton, team-mate Bottas was left crestfallen after failing not only to challenge the six-time world champion, but even to complete a Mercedes one-two. All in all, it was a poor show from Bottas.
“The start was the key point, the start was not good enough,” he admitted, the look in his eyes above his face mask telling all we needed to know about his state of mind. As third-place starter Verstappen eased past him on the outside as they approached Turn 1, Bottas failed to defend his inside line as a fast-starting Lance Stroll shot past him. Bottas even briefly dropped to fifth behind Sergio Perez until finding the traction to withstand the Mexican’s advances on the way to Turn 4. His Drag Reduction System (DRS) made it all too easy for Bottas to pass Stroll on lap five, but that was as far as the recovery got.
Running longer than Verstappen on their two-stop strategies, Mercedes tried to find Bottas some pace by choosing the soft tyre for his final stint. But he made little impression on Verstappen’s advantage and, safe from any threat behind from Racing Point, eventually pitted for a new set of mediums to claim the fastest lap on the last time around. That point will be scant consolation as the gap to Verstappen stretches to six in the championship standings and a gaping 43 to his runaway team-mate. In a truncated season, the full duration of which still remains unconfirmed, his task to challenge Hamilton for the title now looks a tall order. Just as well he’s already got that new contract signed for 2021.