Valtteri Bottas has been left searching for what more he could have done in the 2018 Bahrain Grand Prix after being narrowly beaten to victory by Scuderia Ferrari‘s Sebastian Vettel.
Bottas jumped ahead of Kimi Raikkonen at the start of the race to set up a thrilling duel with Vettel for the victory. Having stopped just once for Pirelli‘s medium compound tyre, Bottas hunted Vettel on Softs in the closing stages and came up short by just six-tenths of a second in the closest Bahrain Grand Prix finish ever.
“It was so close in the end, it’s a shame I couldn’t win,” said Bottas. “When it’s so close, you start to think about every lap and every corner after the race, trying to figure out if there is something you could have done better.
“But I feel like I did a good race, I didn’t make any mistakes and I gave it everything I had. I didn’t try the Medium tyres before the race, but it went well and we managed to do a really long stint.
“Only in the last three laps I started to struggle with the tyres and once I got close to Sebastian everything got more difficult. The pace today was better than expected so that we could put some pressure on Ferrari.”
Vettel’s victory is his second in a row but Bottas believes the margins between Ferrari and his own Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport are slim, setting up an “interesting season” ahead.
“It’s very close and it’s going to be an interesting season. We still have work to do, especially for conditions like here in Bahrain. I think we can see some positives, but the main thing for us is to really learn from this weekend.”