Valtteri Bottas was left fuming over the Mercedes team radio during the French Grand Prix, after losing second place to Max Verstappen towards the end of the race. Red Bull opted for a two-stop strategy over their main title rivals which paid off as Verstappen won the race and Sergio Perez came third ahead of Bottas.
Bottas was heard shouting to his engineer: “Why the f*** does nobody listen to me when I say it’s going to be a two-stopper? F***ing hell.”
That as his team-mate Hamilton led the race and the Finn, who started second on the grid, was left struggling on the hard tyre for the final few laps of the race.
Verstappen had pitted onto the medium compound of the tyre to take the fight to Mercedes.
And it worked, as the championship leader coming into the race swept past the Finn, before his team-mate Perez did the same a few laps later, despite also being on the hard tyre.
“My tyres are f***ing finished,” said Bottas. “Copy, we understand,” came the reply from his engineer.
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But the strong weekend up until the race did not turn out to be as strong as Bottas, or Mercedes, would have liked after Sunday.
The undercut saw Verstappen sweep past Hamilton on the penultimate lap, and extend his lead at the top of the standings by 12 points with victory in France after a thrilling battle between Mercedes and Red Bull.
An elated team boss Christian Horner was heard over the radio congratulating Verstappen and saying: “Well done mate, payback, great job.”
The Dutchman replied: “What a race man, thank you so much,” after struggling with his team radio for much of the race.
Bottas is fifth in the driver standings after coming home fourth in France as his team-mate battled for the lead out front.
Hamilton is now 12 points behind Verstappen in the Drivers’ Championship.
Mercedes were hoping for a strong weekend at Paul Ricard, after races in Monaco and Baku which saw them score just seven points in the championship.
But Red Bull clinched three successive victories for the first time in the sport’s hybrid engine era thanks to Verstappen’s triumph in France.