The brand new V6, turbo and MGU-H fitted in a single day would usually ship Bottas to the again of the grid, however he’s anticipated to begin seventeenth, forward of three different drivers who’ve already made adjustments – particularly Nicholas Latifi, Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen.
And the important thing title there may be after all Verstappen.
Crimson Bull wanted to introduce a brand new Honda energy unit at some stage, and with a three-place penalty hanging over the Dutchman from Monza, and Mercedes all the time anticipated to set the tempo in Sochi, the staff made the tactical resolution to take successful in Russia and begin Verstappen from the rear of the grid.
Crimson Bull knew that Leclerc would even be again there after an influence unit change and thus would possibly have the ability to gradual Verstappen’s progress, and the staff additionally discovered throughout qualifying that Latifi can be taking a penalty and begin in entrance of Leclerc with a automotive that’s fast in a straightline, and won’t be straightforward to cross.
Nevertheless, the varied methods that the Crimson Bull engineers mentioned in a single day and into this morning should be rethought now that the staff is aware of that Bottas shall be in entrance of Latifi.
Logic means that Bottas’s function at this time shall be to cowl Verstappen, and if attainable, management his progress by way of the sector.
Clearly the Finn desires to get consequence for himself, and constructors’ factors are helpful for Mercedes, so it stays to be seen how issues play out.
Max Verstappen, Crimson Bull Racing RB16B
Photograph by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images
Nonetheless, he’s probably there as a spoiler, operating interference and giving Crimson Bull extra to consider than the staff had anticipated.
Bottas believed after qualifying that he might nonetheless win the race, and clearly he has made a sacrifice. It is similar to the 2012 US GP, when Felipe Massa took a gearbox penalty in an effort to hand his title-chasing Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso an additional spot.
Nevertheless, Bottas additionally now has two contemporary energy items within the pool to get him by way of the remaining seven races, hopefully with no additional issues. Some sources have steered that he had a difficulty with the engine that was fitted new in Monza – therefore the necessity to take one other change so rapidly – however Mercedes has denied that was the case.
Nevertheless, there isn’t a doubt that Mercedes is dealing with reliability considerations as the top of the season attracts nearer, particularly with excessive mileage engines. There have been some very public failures – and a few much less apparent.
Mercedes has now confirmed that the plan was for Bottas to take a brand new energy unit at Spa, however there was a difficulty with it earlier than it took to the monitor, and thus the change was postponed to Monza.
Now the large query is when will Lewis Hamilton take a penalty? With seven races to go there seems to be no escape for the world champion.