Valtteri Bottas’ hopes of claiming his first Formula 1 grand prix victory at Silverstone on Sunday were dashed after he was prevented from passing teammate Felipe Massa in the early stages of the British Grand Prix.
Both Williams drivers made an incredible start from the second row of the grid to launch into the top two positions, and led for the entirety of the first stint of the race.
Bottas had been close to taking the lead from Massa in the early stages, requesting to be waved past as he was the faster driver. However, Williams told him to hold position and not to race his teammate.
“I had one really good opportunity at one point but the team told me I wasn’t allowed to overtake, so I lost that opportunity there,” Bottas told NBCSN after the race. “Then I was pretty close but I didn’t want to take any big risks.
“Obviously it seems like I had a bit more pace, but I think the main thing today with the inters that I couldn’t get the tires to work at all.”
Mercedes’ decision to pit Lewis Hamilton early allowed the Briton to get the undercut on the Williams drivers and take the lead, but Massa and Bottas remained in second and third after making their tire change.
However, a late rain shower proved to be their downfall. The team’s poor wet weather pace allowed Rosberg to sweep past both drivers in the space of three laps to take second place, before Sebastian Vettel rose to third after all drivers made the switch to intermediate tires.
At the end of the race, Bottas was fortunate to hang on to fifth place after Daniil Kvyat caught the Finn at a rate of three seconds per lap in the final stages.
“It’s difficult yes,” Bottas said. “It’s something we’ve been trying to figure out but still haven’t found a soluation. The car was completed set up for the dry and we couldn’t get the tires up to temperature.
“It’s always easy to say afterwards what could have been possible. There was an opportunity today, but we lost it.”