Valtteri Bottas underlined his status as a genuine contender for this year’s world championship when he finished a bold second, from ninth on the grid, in Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
The Finn, who replaced retired 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg as teammate to Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, is now only 23 points behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.
Hamilton won Sunday’s race with a performance of total supremacy from pole to flag and Vettel finished seventh after a late puncture deprived him of a possible podium.
“For us as a team this was a perfect weekend, especially considering the circumstances and where we started today, in ninth place,” said Bottas.
“It’s just amazing what we’ve done today. The car was so good to drive – really quick – and the team had decided to split the strategy between Lewis and me.
“I started with the soft tyres and actually went a bit longer than planned, as we extended the first stint quite a bit, because everything was looking good.
“Towards the end, when we put the super-soft tyres on, I was on a fresher tyre, managed to get through Sebastian and caught Kimi, but realistically he would have been too far away for me to get through.
“But then I got lucky, Kimi got unlucky and lost his second place. In the end, 18 points is the perfect result for me.”
Big Question: Is Valterri a serious title contender?