Bottas: Really happy with what we’re doing as a team

Valtteri Bottas celebrates second place at the British Grand Prix

Valtteri Bottas celebrates second place at the British Grand Prix

With two podiums in two races Williams driver Valtteri Bottas has found a fine run of form and made the most of it at the British Grand Prix where he finished second, after starting 14th on the grid, thus scoring his best place finish in his F1 career. The Finn spoke to the media afterwards.

Third in Austria, second here at the British Grand Prix – you must be looking forward to Germany?
Valtteri Bottas: Yeah, we are on the right way. Like I said on the team radio: one step more to go. The team has done such a good job. You see how quick the car is. It was behaving really well, it was really a pleasure to drive it. Still Mercedes [are] in front, but we are on the right way.

Any scares out there this afternoon or was it running like clockwork? You did some great passes.
VB: Yeah, there was some good stuff going on. I really enjoyed it. The plan was to come as high as possible, as high as the pace of the car is giving the possibility. I think as a team we made the most out of it. I have to say I feel sorry for Felipe, his 200th grand prix, a shame it ended like this.

From 14th on the grid to second at the finish, which is your best ever result in Formula One and your second consecutive podium, so brilliant effort. You did a one-stop strategy, which is a talking point, but surely the overtakes in the opening stint, there were so many of them – around the outside, around the inside – just tell us about your race?
VB: Yeah we knew that this race could be good fun. We knew that we had a quick car. Maybe it was a bit surprisingly quick today, but since the first stint the pace was good, since the first lap. I was able to go through the field quite well. Of course, sometimes it needed a bit of risk, because it’s really important to get through quickly and not get stuck behind people, but I really managed to get well in position, where the pace of the car was. I’m just really, really happy with what we’ve been doing as a team. Again, the race pace shows we are really doing the right things and I’m very happy to be part of this.

Friday morning you sat out FP1. Saturday morning also, only Qualifying. You didn’t have miles on the track. Where you surprised at the beginning of the race when you started overtaking everyone with the performance of the car?
VB: Yeah, definitely. Our prediction was that Mercedes [were] going to be strong and also Red Bull, we thought, would be here a bit quicker than us in the race and Ferrari to be really close to our pace. So, we definitely knew that the position we were starting wasn’t going to be that easy to get into good points and we were not really thinking about the podium, we were just thinking about getting in the points and, yeah, definitely it was a positive surprise in the beginning of the race. The tyre life wasn’t really a limitation so we could do the strategy. Well, I have to say the strategy guys did a really good job today. We actually switched the strategy during the running as we saw the tyre wear was so low. Positive surprise. Really happy.

Two podiums in a row. Does this show you and the team have learnt your lesson, how to score podiums. And is this maybe the start of a catch-up battle?
VB: Well, we are definitely a stronger team than we were in, let’s say Melbourne, or the first few races. Difficult to compare even to last year or two years before. I think we are really getting stronger all the time. It’s not going to be easy to be on the podium in every race as I think this season is going to be quite a bit race-by-race but we are definitely on the right way and really happy to be part of this. Myself, I have been improving also all the time. Every race I aim to be a better driver and as a team we aim to be a stronger team every single race – and that’s what we’ve been doing.

We had a fairly long delay after all you guys all made mega starts on the first lap. When you’ve got that one hour delay, what are you thinking? Are you worried that you’re going to lose the momentum that you picked up? What’s going on in your heads?
VB: Yeah, it’s not easy, you know. There’s a break and you need to keep your focus in the race. You can’t really start to think about other things than the race so you just need to keep thinking about… forward: the restart, how to get your tyres warm, brakes warm, everything. You can always speak with the engineer. You just really wait, let the time go and all the time keep focused for the next moment.