Bottas: Tyres won't dominate F1 title battle for long

Valtteri Bottas predicts that the Formula 1 title battle between Mercedes and Ferrari will transform from one about tyre management into one about ultimate car performance.

Bottas: Tyres won't dominate F1 title battle for long
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Race winner Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, second place Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H and third place Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H
Race winner Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Fans
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Race winner Second place Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Third place Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08

The foundations of Sebastian Vettel's two victories so far this season have been laid on his SF70H car not suffering as much tyre degradation as the Mercedes W08.

It has allowed his Maranello team to adopt more aggressive tyre strategies and, in both Australia and China, he was able to leapfrog Lewis Hamilton in the pits rather than overtaking him on track.

But for Bottas, whose own hopes of victory in Bahrain were wrecked by tyre problems, the situation at the front is expected to change once all teams get on top of understanding Pirelli's 2017 rubber.

Asked in an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com about whether the dominance of tyre factors so far this year had got boring, Bottas said "No, it's not boring. I think it's always been the case, but now tyres have changed.

"It's more difficult to master every compound for every tarmac, and how they behave. I think it's been always in F1 like that, but now that our car with Ferrari is so equal then small things like tyres [can decide the outcome]. In the end it's the only thing in contact with the car and the ground.

"But my thinking in the future is it's going to be less and less speaking about the tyres. Once people and teams learn more about getting everything out of the tyres in the right windows in different conditions, then I think probably everyone is going to be equal in how they handle tyres.

"So there is going to be less speaking about tyres and it's going to be more about the cars, and setups and car development."

Ferrari surprise

F1 observers had expected that the change in regulations for this year would result in Red Bull emerging as the main threat to Mercedes.

Instead, it is Ferrari that did the better job over the winter – even surprising Mercedes with the way it was able to step up.

"We didn't expect [it] really," said Bottas about Ferrari's resurgence. "So they've been surprisingly good. They had a very good winter and very strong car development since last year. A big step.

"They are managing their tyres at every single track on every Sunday and they've been very much on top of every compound of tyres. They've done very good job on that. And I think it's a very good challenge to try and beat them."

He added: "For sure, we wanted to be ahead. We wanted this season to be so far better for us, but I think it's very good in general having the competition. It makes us try harder.

"It makes every single race weekend, every single session very interesting, not only for us, but for everyone I think. So in a way I think it's good. This is Formula 1 and it should be about competition. But still we want to be ahead, and still we want to win."

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About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Valtteri Bottas
Teams Mercedes
Author Jonathan Noble
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