Formula 1

French GP “sums up my season” – Valtteri Bottas

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Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver Valtteri Bottas says his French Grand Prix result “sums up” his 2018 Formula 1 season so far.

Bottas had qualified second for the race, but was hit by the fast-starting Sebastian Vettel at Turn 1 on the opening lap, suffering a left-puncture and dropping to last place as he recovered to the pits for repairs. 

The Finn then ran a long stint on the soft compound Pirelli tyres, in an attempt to complete the race on a single pitstop.

However, Mercedes abandoned this strategy on Lap 39 of 53, opting to switch Bottas to the supersoft tyre. He went on to finish in seventh place, just behind the Haas F1 Team driver, Kevin Magnussen. 

I guess today was just not my day,” rued Bottas. “In a way, it sums up my season so far. [It] was a shame because we had a strong car today, but my race was lost [at] Turn 1.

I was on the outside going into [Turn 1], and knew tha keeping the line would put me on the inside for Turn 2. Then I got a hit from behind, had a puncture and damage [to my] floor,” he explained.

“After that it was difficult as the car was quite damaged, and I could feel the lack of rear end [stability.] I was sliding around, and had to do a second pitstop, which was unfortunately slow, so we lost more time there.”

Vettel was hit with a five-second time penalty by the stewards for colliding with Bottas, much to the chargrain of his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, who won the race from pole position.

Positives to be taken

We were strong as a team, although unfortunately we could not turn that into a perfect points result,” said Bottas.

I set the fastest lap of the race despite the condition of the car. I’ll keep my head down, work hard and hopefully the luck will turn around at some point – I think it is about time.”

Bottas’s seventh place and six championship moves him onto 92 for the season so far and into fourth place in the drivers’ standings, 53 behind team-mate Hamilton.

The 31 points that Mercedes scored at the Paul Ricard Circuit moves their season total thus far to 237 points and extends their constructors’ championship lead over Scuderia Ferrari to 23 points.

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