Williams' Valtteri Bottas delighted to split the Mercedes cars at the German GP
On-form Finn makes it back-to-back second-place finishes
By William Esler
Last Updated: 20/07/14 6:10pm
Valtteri Bottas was delighted to split the two Mercedes cars in Sunday’s German Grand Prix and says he enjoyed the late battle with Lewis Hamilton.
The Finn made it back-to-back second places with a controlled drive that won him plaudits from pundits and fans alike.
The 2011 GP3 Champion came under intense pressure from a charging Hamilton in the final laps, but knew precisely where to position his car on the track to prevent the Briton making it a Mercedes one-two.
“That was fun,” Bottas told Sky Sports F1. “That last few laps were close with Lewis, but I am really happy that at the end we could keep our car between the two Mercedes'.
“I actually saw his front left [tyre] in my mirror completely grained and I knew that he would struggle in the last two corners so I tried to pull a bit of a gap there and always get a good exit out of the final corner, Turn One and Turn Two leading onto the back straight.
“It didn’t really matter if he was close to me in the final sector as there is nowhere to overtake so I just would rather focus on the places that matter.”
Bottas admitted a perfect two-stop strategy from Williams and knowing exactly how long the tyres would hold on for helped him equal the best result of his F1 career.
“It definitely went to plan - that was Plan A and it worked well,” he added.
“We knew it would be difficult here for us to make a two-stop and the last few laps of every stint the tyres were really gone and especially the final stint with 27 laps on that set of tyres and Lewis behind was not easy. But again the communication between me and the engineers was really, really good.”
The Finn’s points moved Williams above Ferrari and into third in the Constructors’ Championship, but Bottas is already eyeing Red Bull’s second place.
“Actually at the meeting ahead of the race Rob Smedley said that the goal today was to be ahead of Ferrari in the points after the race and that is what we achieved,” he revealed.
“We just need to make sure we stay ahead in Budapest which is going to be more difficult for us. But in terms of the points, it is a long season and I think if we can keep improving we can get close to Red Bull in the points.
“We didn’t really expect this year to be such a big step from last year, so for me the goal is just to keep getting the maximum out of the car and the maximum points and be on the podium as many times as possible and always go for the win.”
However, despite the positives of the day, Bottas was still disappointed not to be closer to Nico Rosberg after finishing over 20 seconds behind the winner.
“We were hoping we would be a bit closer to the Mercedes in the race, but there was no way to keep up with Nico and that was the maximum result today,” the 24-year-old concluded.
“Obviously Felipe [Massa] was really unlucky again today so we missed good points with the other car, but we are still on the right way and it is good to see our car between the two silver ones.”
Next up for Bottas and Williams is the very different challenge of the tight and twisty Hungaroring on July 25-27 and you can see all the action live only on Sky Sports F1.