“Like a Sunday trip”: Valtteri Botta's lackluster third in Spa
(Motorsport-Total.com) – Valtteri Bottas is in the Grand Prix of Belgium over 50. Score for Mercedes happy. However, the Finn is hardly pleased after third place and eleven seconds behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Again he has lost valuable championship points against the British.
“It's okay, honestly this is definitely my best result and my best performance I have ever had in Spa”, the 23 – yearlings take something positive out of the race. The race track in the Ardennes is usually one of the toughest for him.
In the past Bottas was able to get on the podium first: 2014 with Williams. He could not take third place this year. After a solid start from fourth place, he was able to follow the Ferraris close behind Hamilton.
“At the end of the first stint, I missed a bit of pace due to tire degradation.” As the last of the top group, he finally went in round 23 to the pits. From the soft he put on the medium and found himself back in fourth place.
“In the second stint, I felt really strong.” He profited from the second pit stop by Sebastian Vettel and took over from round 30 the third place. “Then we drove the position home.” He already knew that he had no other options, so he wanted to spare the engine and the transmission.
“That was like a Sunday trip at the end,” jokes Bottas. He had no fear of Vettel in fourth place and was well behind Hamilton and Leclerc. “At least we could catch up with Sebastian thanks to a better strategy.”
Much more was not in it for him. With third place, he loses another three points over Hamilton in the World Championship . Meanwhile he is 50 counter back (2.6 victories). “We encouraged Valtteri to go full throttle,” commented Toto Wolff
However, neither the driver nor the constructors' championship is already in the towel, warns the Mercedes team boss. Therefore one should not be cocky. “Both were very intelligent in their driving against each other.” This is one of the strengths of the team, he is pleased with the respectful interaction between Bottas and Hamilton.
The Finn is “free” and of course allowed to fight for victories and the best possible situation in the World Cup for themselves, explains the Austrians. In Belgium, however, there were no opportunities to counter Hamilton.