Valtteri Bottas says he "needs a miracle" to overhaul the 69-point gap to Lewis Hamilton in the Formula 1 drivers’ championship following his retirement at the Eifel Grand Prix. 

Bottas led the early stages of the Eifel Grand Prix but dropped behind Hamilton following a lock-up into Turn 1, flat-spotting his front right tyre and forcing him into a premature pit stop.

The Finn was running in third before a power unit issue forced him into his first retirement since Brazil last season.

With the gap to Hamilton now at nearly three race wins worth of points, Bottas concedes beating Hamilton to the title in 2020 will require a miracle.

"It’s disappointing, of course, just very, very disappointing but it’s one of these things you cannot do anything about it," Bottas said.

"Obviously, I also had the lock-up before that but, still, I still had all the chances to win, because that made me go into a two-stopped quite early and I think two-stops, in the end, was the best strategy.

"I knew there was still all to play for even after that lock up on the drizzle, but then came the engine thing and I couldn’t believe it. I understand the gap to Lewis is now pretty big in the points, so I would definitely need a miracle, but, as always, there’s no point in giving up, I have to keep the bar high for me and keep trying. It’s just disappointing – that’s the best word."

With the gap so substantial to Hamilton, Bottas says he will be taking every race as it comes and not worrying about the specific deficit in the championship.

"I think that’s the best mindset, there’s no point now to, like, non-stop calculating the points for Lewis because it’s quite a big gap," Bottas added. "I just have to set the target for each weekend and then do everything I can for that. The mindset for me is to never give up is still with me so, you know, no chance to get out of it. Obviously, in a couple of months we’ll be a lot wiser about how the season will pan out."

Mercedes are hopeful that Bottas can avoid facing a grid penalty at the next race in Portugal following his retirement.

“It looks like it was an electronics issue on the power unit side that we think is within the pack,” Mercedes’ trackside engineering director Andrew Shovlin said. “But we’re still investigating that.

“It doesn’t look like it has to do with the hardware. So we’re investigating that and hopefully it won’t result in a penalty for him but we’ll know more when we get to the next race in Portimao.”

 

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