Valtteri Bottas did not manage to win a race in 2018, he ended the season being the first Mercedes driver to remain the full season without a win in the turbo era. However that sequence of not winning races ended with the first race of the 2019 season in Australia where he delivered a crushing victory, which saw him finish more than 20 seconds ahead of team-mate and nearly rival Lewis Hamilton. No wonder Bottas described it as “definitely my best race ever”
Valtteri Bottas started this season saying he felt like a new man having spent his winter season to work hard on his physical and mental condition which helped to put last years disappointing campaign behind him. The winter preparation, which included training in the arctic cold of Lapland, paid him back immediately.
On the sixth anniversary of his F1 debut, the Finn went head to head with Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton in qualifying, missing out on pole by a mere fraction. But he immediately put that disappointment behind him in the race, performing an excellent start to snatch the lead from the reining world champion into Turn 1.
From there, Bottas controlled the race without problems, building a gap so big, he could have even pitted for fresh tyres in the closing stages and still retained a lead over Hamilton, who struggled for pace on his way to a distant second.
“I don’t know what to say,” said Bottas after jumping out of the car. “I had a great start. It was definitively my best race ever. I don’t know what happened, everything felt so good, I had everything under control and it was so good today. Truly enjoyable, and I’m going to enjoy the rest of today. “In the beginning, it was all about managing the race and trying to build a gap. After five, six, seven laps I started to build the gap and I had a great feeling doing that. “I knew I could do it, I had done it before, it was about being at my best level, being one with the car. The second stint… I don’t know. When you’re really on it, it feels kind of easy. In the end, it isn’t but that’s what you brain tells you.”
Bottas wanted to pit as late as possible, so he could have a shot at the fastest lap, which since this year is rewarded with an extra point, but the team opted not to. But Valtteri enjoyed a significant performance advantage, the Finn still took the fastest lap of the race, finishing first with an impressive 20.8 seconds lead over Hamilton, a winning advantage that was larger than at any Grand Prix in 2018.
“I was definitively determined to get the fastest lap. It is a new rule for this year, so as I had really strong pace I wanted to go for it in the end. It’s always a bit risky with the old tyres but it worked. I’m very happy and can hardly wait for the next race!”
This was Bottas’ first victory since the 2017 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and the fourth of his career. But could this one be the most important yet? History suggests that the Finn, who holds an eight point advantage over Hamilton in the 2019 drivers’ standings, is now favourite for the title. Every time that a team has finished one-two in Melbourne, the winning driver has won that year’s championship.
Nu pierdeti ultimele stiri din lumea uimitoare a motorsportului cu aplicatie GP24.
Don't miss out on the latest news from the world of Motorsports with the GP24 App.
Cu noua aplicatie GP24 primiti ultimele stiri direct pe dispozitivul mobil, 100% gratuit / Nu este necesara inregistrarea.
With the New GP24 App you receive the latest news direct on your mobile device, 100% free / No need to register.