Australian GP winner Valtteri Bottas stunned by ‘best race ever’

Australian GP winner Valtteri Bottas stunned by ‘best race ever’

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Valtteri Bottas was left stunned by his Australian Grand Prix victory, which he called “definitely my best race ever” in Formula 1.

Bottas dominated the season opener after getting ahead of poleman and Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton on the run to the first corner at the start.

It marks his first win since the 2017 season finale in Abu Dhabi, after bad luck and poor form at the end of the year left him winless in ’18.

Asked if he felt it was his best race in F1, Bottas said: “I think so. I don’t know just what happened.

“I don’t know what to say. The start was really good.

“It was definitely my best race ever. I don’t know what happened, I just felt so good and everything was under control.

“The car was so good today. Truly enjoyable, and I need to enjoy today.”

Bottas also claimed the first bonus point of the season by setting the fastest lap of the race on the penultimate tour.

It gives him 26 points, the biggest single-race haul from a driver in F1 history, and leaves him eight points clear of Hamilton atop the standings.

“I knew it’s a new rule for this year, as I had really strong pace I wanted to go for that in the end,” said Bottas of the revived fastest-lap point.

“It’s always risky with the worn tyres but it was worth it.”

Hamilton paid tribute to his team-mate’s performance after being forced to keep Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at bay during different stages of the grand prix.

The champion finished well adrift of Bottas but that gap was exaggerated by a forced early pitstop to cover Vettel, which put both drivers on a slower strategy than the race winner.

“It is a good weekend for the team so I have to be happy for everyone,” said Hamilton.

“Valtteri drove an incredible race today so deserved it.

“We have some work to do, [but] it is more than we could have hoped for as a team.”

Hamilton said he had some “ideas” where his qualifying pace went but would save that for his debrief.

He said losing the win after starting on pole was “a little bit frustrating when you have a good weekend up until that point, but I will work hard to do better next time”.

Racing News

via All news – Autosport https://ift.tt/2uOa9Ei

March 17, 2019 at 12:15AM

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