Valtteri Bottas’s failure to put Charles Leclerc under more pressure highlighted his difficulty in getting the most from his car while following rivals, says Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff.
Bottas assumed second in the Italian Grand Prix when team-mate Lewis Hamilton made a mistake at the first chicane, but was unable to mount a proper attempt at a pass despite a tyre-life advantage.
His hopes of a win were finally dashed when he misjudged his braking point slightly and ran deep at the first chicane.
Wolff said the way Bottas was unable to threaten Leclerc as much as Hamilton had earlier in the race exposed an aspect of his driving that needs improving.
“It looks like he struggles a little bit when he gets in the wake of the car, to extract the maximum,” explained Wolff.
“Lewis in that position is able to somehow get closer and put himself in a position to go for a move.
“It’s something he’s got to work on. But on the positive side, his racing was great. He was really fast. Probably in pure race time, the fastest car.”
Despite pitting eight laps after Leclerc, Bottas said his tyres were past their best by the time he got closer to the Ferrari driver.
Speaking about the final part of the race, Bottas said: “Ideally I would have done more tyre management, but if I wanted to have a shot of winning the race I needed to push to catch them, and that was at a cost of some tyre drop-off.
“I felt the last four laps I had a big drop-off with the medium tyre, so that made it more tricky. When I got close enough I was having some front locking under braking.
“Lewis had a similar issue as well, he went straight [on at the chicane] when I got him.
“From all calculations, to have a proper chance to overtake you need one second pace difference and I had a maximum of five tenths by the time I got close to Charles.
“It was tricky, I tried everything I could, but it was a bit out of reach.”