Valtteri’s Choice Will Reveal All For The 2020 Championship

The Spanish Grand Prix start will tell us all we need to know about the title battle raging at Mercedes – or lack thereof… at least at the moment.

The run up to turn 1 is notoriously long – and much like Sochi, it’s dependent on the slip streams available. DRS won’t be available for a few laps of course but good old fashioned aerodynamics are well in bounds as drivers will use the long straight away and abnormally close conditions at the start to draft. Which presents us with an opportunity at the Spanish Grand Prix start line:

Will Bottas take the tow and attempt a pass on Lewis into turn 1 or will Merc defend together holding 1-2 for the greater good of Mercedes?

I’m drawn to the chaos of Formula 1 coupled with I feel Valtteri may be harboring some bitterness from the previous round so I’m very tempted to say he’ll go for the pass.⁣⁣ It’s what we all want to see.

But ultimately for the same Bottas is unlikely to beat Lewis in a title battle is the same reason I don’t see him going for that slip stream. The only way I see it happening is if he does one of his ** fast reactions and can use that to justify attacking his teammate.⁣
Net, if his start is questionably fast, then he will take the tow. If it’s even necessary at that point, that is.⁣ I’d buckle down and settle in for a grueling race, boring at times. Going out on similar compounds eliminates tyre gamesmanship this week. Teams likely have made adjustments for the heat and anticipate an appropriate level of thermal degradation.  ⁣
While circuit characteristics suit Red Bull better than Silverstone, I’ve maintained tyre stress and lateral load scores at a 4/5, one notch down vs. Silverstone. You can find a track characteristic by Pirelli on the Spanish Grand Prix in their Press Room or in the infographic below.
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They’ll pull major G tomorrow but mostly in T3. Reasonable to assume Mercedes have solved enough tyre drama since last round and are aided by the tyre strain relief they’ll get for tomorrow’s Round 6 at Circuit de Catalunya.

But the fact remains that if The Silver Arrows choose to fly together as a pair and defend against Verstappen likely opting for the outside of turn 1 so he can set up a seamless transition into the flick-back left, we’ll know that Valtteri is willing to do whatever he needs to for Mercedes. While that’s the kind of driver I’d want in my lineup for team stability, he must also recognize he’s throwing away a good chance to go after what’s his – his glory. His shot at the title.

The slip stream advantage from the second spot we’ve seen be fruitful indeed. And I’ve said repeatedly that in clear air, Bottas is one of the best on the grid – bar none. But he has to find it. And tomorrow, he’ll have a small window. If he has it in him to seize it, he may just insert himself back into the title conversation. Sure – it may make things awkward around the paddock. But I don’t think Hamilton lost slip for passing him in Silverstone last weekend. As he shouldn’t. This is racing. Tomorrow we see what Valtteri’s made of or if he’ll be relegated to habitual #2.