Japanese Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas has played down any concerns about potentially being given a detrimental strategy in his quest for the Suzuka win.
Starting from third, the Finn managed to successfully take the lead of the race on the opening lap after making a better getaway than both Ferrari drivers, who locked out the front-row.
From there, Bottas seemed mostly unchallenged and built up a strong lead over second-placed Sebastian Vettel. However, with team-mate Lewis Hamilton staying out for longer tyre stints in the earlier stages of the race, it was suggested that Mercedes could opt to make one less pit stop with Hamilton as an alternative strategy.
With Hamilton holding a several second lead with ten laps to go, Bottas asked the team about their strategy intentions, but his worries were ended when Hamilton was brought in for a second pit stop.
Speaking after the race, Bottas played down the scenario and said that he felt in control of the situation.
“Yeah, I’m very happy. Obviously it was a pretty close qualifying, and starting third here is never easy, but there’s no point in giving up and I knew that anything was possible today and opportunities were there,” said Bottas.
“I got a really nice start and Sebastian had an issue, so I managed to take the lead and then the pace was super good. I could control the race and I really enjoyed it.
“We knew that a one or two-stop strategy was possible and that there wasn’t much difference between them, so we knew [having to overtake Lewis] could be a scenario. Everything went smoothly; I could really control it when I wanted and push when I wanted.