Valtteri Bottas felt he had the chance to win the German Grand Prix on Sunday but circumstances worked against him, although he was able to finish second behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton as the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team secured a one-two finish at the Hockenheimring.
Bottas had inherited the lead when Sebastian Vettel crashed out of the race, but the subsequent safety car period and the necessity to change onto a fresh set of Ultrasoft tyre saw him fall behind his team-mate, and ultimately he would end 4.535 seconds back for his fifth runners-up spot of the season.
“I would have loved to win this race, but at the moment I’m very happy for us at the team – it’s a perfect result here at the home race for Mercedes in Germany,” said Bottas. “I was fighting for the win today and things started to unfold quite nicely for me towards the end of the race.
“But unfortunately I was a bit unlucky as the Safety Car did not come at an ideal time for me in terms of tyre age. That’s where I lost the race. Lewis had a great comeback and drove a mega race – probably one of his best.
“In the end he was a bit more lucky with the Safety Car timing than I was.”
Bottas felt he had one opportunity to pass his team-mate for the victory, which came on the first lap following the restart after the safety car period, but the Briton remained ahead, with team orders being called for the drivers to maintain position thereafter.
“I had a good opportunity at the re-start, Lewis and I had a great, fair battle – but he managed to stay ahead,” said Bottas, who attacked into the hairpin only to be rebutted by Hamilton. “It must have been quite exciting to watch – two of the same cars fighting it out on the track.”
Bottas praised the team for their decision not to switch either car to the Intermediate Pirelli tyre when the rain came down, with both drivers utilising the Ultrasoft to good use, even when the track was at its wettest.
“We decided not to pit for the Intermediate tyres; it was risky, but the team was comfortable that the rain would not last long,” said the Finn. “It turned out to be exactly the right decision, so I’m glad I trusted the team.
“I will keep pushing hard and I’m sure my time will come.”