Valtteri Bottas missed the chance to gain the advantage on Sebastian Vettel late on during the Baharin Grand Prix, according to former F1 driver Mark Blundell.
With Ferrari having swtiched to a “one-stop” strategy, the German had to nurse his tyres to the finish line, providing a chance for Mercedes’ Bottas to catch up.
Equipped with fresher medium tyres, the Finnish driver swooped in for the kill during the closing stages of the race on Sunday.
Despite a moment of optimism for the former Williams driver, where there was a possible gap on the inside of Turn One, Vettel’s lead turned out to be a comfortable one in the end with Bottas deciding against making such a move.
Blundell provided a bold examination of the situation, stating that the 28-year-old Finn needed to be more aggressive during that instance, while also stating that the likes of Lewis Hamilton would have provided a greater challenge for the Ferrari driver if provided that sort of opportunity.
“He bottled it. He had the car underneath him, he had the tyres underneath him with the performance left in them. He saw the opportunity, but I don’t think he took it,” Blundell told the F1 Report.
“I think he is a fantastic driver, but he lacks some aggression and a little bit of fight.”
McLaren reserve driver Lando Norris agreed with Blundell’s suggestion that Hamilton, Max Verstappen, or Daniel Ricciardo would have pushed Vettel harder.
“I think you can say that,” Norris said. “Valtteri hasn’t been the most aggressive of drivers in the past with overtaking. That has its benefits and disadvantages.
“I’m sure he would have given it a good shot and if it was too risky then he wouldn’t have gone for it.”
Finally, Blundell questions whether Bottas has the “killer instinct” required to compete at the top.
With the Finn’s contract with Mercedes expiring at the end of the 2018 season, his showing at Bahrain casts doubt over a possible contract extension with the German manufacturers.
Blundell added: “I think there are other drivers that have capabilities that could sit alongside Hamilton.
“That is what you have got to consider, you are placing somebody alongside Lewis. In my eyes, there are not many people who are going to match Lewis, so it’s always going to be a difficult choice to make.
“Bottas is solid, but in that kind of situation I think he should have gone for it and there were points, and a win, left on the table.”