British Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas said that the battle between himself and Lewis Hamilton was hard but fair, on what he deemed an ‘unlucky’ race.
Valtteri Bottas finished P2 in Sunday’s race at the F1 British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Having been the polesitter, Bottas successfully resisted Hamilton’s early attacks which saw the pair swapping position and frequently racing side by side through some of the corners.
With Bottas pitting on Lap 16 for fresh rubber, Hamilton stayed out on track and was fortuitous to have the Safety Car come out on Lap 20. This allowed Hamilton to make his stop without losing much time and he came out ahead of the Finn as a result.
“It was probably not my luckiest day, but that’s life.” said Bottas afterwards.
“Obviously Lewis drove well with massive support here. We had a good race at the beginning. I really enjoyed it. That’s why we are here, to race hard and fair.”
Smiling, he said the blood pressure of his team boss might have been quite high as he and Lewis diced in the early stages: “I am sure Toto did not enjoy it as much as we did that doesn’t really matter. After my first stop, it felt like I was under control following the gaps closely. I left a big gap to Lewis and I was waiting for him to stop and then came the safety car.”
Going on to explain that he had always intended on making two stops as Mercedes split their strategy, he said that the decision to run the Mediums for the middle stint proved to be a mistake: “We were stuck with the two stop at that stage because we stopped for the Medium again after starting on medium tyres which meant we had to stop again towards the end, which was a mistake from our side.”
“Two stops, we thought would be by far the fastest. Actually, one stop was possible as well. It felt like pace was good today and yesterday, so it’s a positive to take, and I’m also really happy as a team taking maximum points. It is pretty impressive the gap to the teams behind so it makes me really proud of us. I am still super hungry for the win so looking forwards to the next race in two weeks.”
Additional reporting by Chinnye Chow