Valtteri Bottas has expressed satisfaction with his second place finish at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, having executed a perfect recovery drive following a collision with Kimi Räikkönen in the opening exchanges of the race.
The Mercedes driver was defending second from his compatriot on the inside of Turn 2, but took too much kerb and bounced into the side of Räikkönen’s Ferrari. This forced him to pit for repairs – replacing both his front wing and front-right tyre – and sent him a lap down at the beginning of the race.
“Today was a crazy race, especially for me,” he said. “I had a puncture on the first lap after the contact with Kimi on Lap 1. I was a lap down, then had to overtake the field under the Safety Car. The second Safety Car after that really helped me out and, step by step, I moved forward from there.”
Having started on the front row, his primary objective was to fight with team-mate Lewis Hamilton for victory, but given the circumstances of his podium finish, he conceded that second was a stellar result nonetheless.
“My main goal today was to fight for the win but that went out of the window after the first lap. I was actually last at one point, but I got my head down, gave it absolutely everything and tried to get the absolute maximum out of every single corner. We didn’t quite manage to win but P2 from where we were is a great feeling.”
Bottas also pointed to Mercedes’ overall performance, which despite struggles for both himself and Hamilton, allowed them to increase the gap between themselves and Ferrari from 8 to 24. This was aided primarily to Räikkönen’s eventual retirement from a puncture caused by debris from the collision between the Force India drivers Sergio Pérez and Sergio Pérez.
“Importantly for the team, we scored more points in the fight with Ferrari and I got some good points for myself as well.”