Valtteri Bottas has praised Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport‘s decision not to pit under virtual safety car conditions in the 2018 Spanish Grand Prix after finishing runner-up to team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Bottas lost his second place at the start of the race to Scuderia Ferrari‘s Sebastian Vettel and failed to jump the German during the first round of pit stops. But Vettel stopped once more on lap forty-one when the VSC was deployed for Esteban Ocon‘s stationery Sahara Force India.
Vettel dropped to fourth and Bottas came home second, albeit over twenty seconds behind Hamilton.
“This is a perfect result for us as a team,” said Bottas. “I was in a difficult situation after the first stint because I was stuck behind Sebastian. We knew that we had a strong car with a lot of pace and I think that we were quicker, but it is so hard to overtake here at this track.
“But we made the right choice when Sebastian pitted under the VSC and decided to stay out. Before the race we thought a one-stop would be nearly impossible, but when we saw the tyres were holding up better than expected we changed our strategy.
“Of course I would have rather won the race, but the team did a really good job today and their decision secured this 1-2 for us. It’s great to get a lot of points for the team today.”
Despite Mercedes’ dominant performance and first one-two of the year, Bottas expects a tougher time of it next time out in Monaco.
“The next race in Monaco could be difficult for us; I think Red Bull will be really strong and Ferrari was on pole last year. So we need to keep working hard and believe in our ability to improve things.”