Valtteri Bottas described the season-opening Australian Grand Prix as ‘a bit of a frustrating day’ after the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver could only recover from a fifteenth place start to take eighth place at the chequered flag.
Bottas’s race was compromised after he crashed his Mercedes W09 at Turn 1 during Saturday’s qualifying session, and then took a gearbox penalty at Albert Park, leaving him fifteenth on the grid, while team-mate Lewis Hamilton started on pole position.
The Finn’s progress was helped by the deployment of the safety car mid-race, and he recovered to salvage an eightg place finish in Melbourne, just behind Renault Sport Formula 1 Team‘s Nico Hulkenberg.
“We had a good car. It felt like just in qualifying, the team did a really good job on that,” said Bottas. “Unfortunately, we just couldn’t make anything out of it, because it is so difficult to overtake on this track.
“It was a bit of a frustrating day. I got some points, but not as many as I was hoping for, even starting from fifteenth on the grid.”
Overheating Concerns for Mercedes
During the race, Bottas, like team-mate Hamilton suffered issues with overheating and a need to cool the car due to following another in close proximity, and the Finn believes this played a part in hampering his progress through the field.
“I also struggled a bit with overheating issues on the engine when I was following other cars, so I had to back off many times,” said Bottas.
“It’s been a disappointing weekend and certainly not an ideal first race, but we still have 20 races to go. We need to learn from this weekend, and try again in two weeks in Bahrain.”