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While his illustrious teammate Lewis Hamilton captured headlines in Australia, Mercedes ‘new boy’ Valtteri Bottas focused on his debut for the sport’s dominant team and when it mattered finished third at the season opener after delivering a solid drive which impressed his bosses – the Finn is now sure that big improvements are on the cards for him.
F1 legend and Mercedes F1 chairman Niki Lauda was full of praise for Bottas after the race in Melbourne, “Bottas did an incredible job. First time in the car, finished third, close up to Lewis. He could not have done a better job.”
Bottas responded, “That’s good! It’s difficult to compare, but if he’s saying that, it’s nice. There’s a lot more to come from me, it’s only the first race – I’m going to improve massively, but that’s nice.”
“As a driver, you can always find things you can improve for the next race and for the future. I wasn’t quite happy with qualifying, because I set the target very high and I didn’t meet it. But that’s where you learn.”
“In the race the car was feeling much better with the soft tire, so the main thing for us to understand why, with the ultrasoft at the beginning, they were overheating and we were sliding around, missing grip. Overall it was a good start with the team, as we didn’t have a lot of time to prepare everything for this race. We have to continue from here.”
Bottas is not allowing the result to go to his head, “For sure I always set very high targets for myself and that works for me – it makes me work harder and, at least this weekend, I didn’t feel any negatives from my self-criticism. It’s only good for me to think about my weaknesses and strengths, so I’m not worried about that.
“I think that in general the weekend didn’t always go the ideal way, but leaving this weekend I think it was a decent start with the team and a completely new page in my career. I know there’s so much more to come and I just need to keep on doing what I’m doing and everything will be OK. I trust my skills, so I don’t see it as a worry,” added Bottas.