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Mercedes

Mercedes explain what cost Bottas a chance at second in Portugal

Despite qualifying on pole in Portugal, Valtteri Bottas could only manage a third place finish in the race. A sensor issue ultimately kept the Finn from battling Max Verstappen for second.

Article
To news overview © Mercedes

Valtteri Bottas had to settle for third place at the Portuguese Grand Prix due to a sensor problem, with Mercedes explaining what exactly happened to the Finn in their latest YouTube video.

The Finn led the early stages of the race before being passed by race winner Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Just when it seemed Bottas would take the fight to the Red Bull driver for second, his pace dropped off.

Mercedes motorsport strategy director James Vowles explained the problem in the team's latest YouTube video, stating one of the sensors was giving inaccurate readings.

“On lap 54 of the race, Valtteri, coming to the start/finish straight, lost straight line speed, a significant amount of straight line speed, enough to lose a few seconds of race time," Vowles said. "And that carried through into the following lap.

"We have a number of sensors all over the car as you would imagine, but especially around the Power Unit and the sensor is there to make sure we protect the Power Unit in case of trouble. In this case the Power Unit actually was perfectly fine, but one of the sensors was reading very inaccurate numbers and put the engine into a protection mode, effectively trying to, if this was true, protect the Power Unit.

Oddly enough Vowles explained that the sensor eventually failed which actually solved the problem, though it left Bottas unable to challenge for second.

"After a short period of time, those two laps, the sensors actually failed and as a result of it, the Power Unit returned back to normal power, there was nothing more that had to be done," Vowles continued. "We obviously also have, and we were looking through it, at our disposition, a number of ways of modifying what the Power Unit does in terms of recovery strategy.

"So, we have default modes that you may have heard called over the radio, which allow us to fix off specific sensors that may be troubled. Ultimately, this cost Valtteri any chance at all of getting back to second place.

"He had done to that point an incredible job to close the gap back down to Verstappen and he was on his gearbox about to pressure him.”

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