Valtteri Bottas secured his first podium finish at the Suzuka International Racing Course on Sunday and he felt coupled with the victory for team-mate Lewis Hamilton, it was a perfect weekend for the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team.
The Finn’s previous best result in Japan was the fourth place in earned twelve months ago and after starting the race from the front row, he consolidated his position at the start and, apart from a couple of lock-ups, drove strongly until the chequered flag to close the gap to Sebastian Vettel in second place in the championship to fifty-seven points with four races remaining.
“This is a perfect result for the team and a great reward for an amazing performance from the entire team this weekend,” said Bottas. “I’m happy that we could bring it home like this after qualifying on the front row yesterday.
“This was my first podium here in Suzuka which was great; I get a lot of support from the local fans, I can really feel it and it means a lot to me.”
Despite Max Verstappen being close behind in the final stages, Bottas said he had it all in hand and it was just a case of managing the race until the chequered flag. He felt completely in control of the situation and had pace in hand if needed to withstand any attack that came from the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver.
“My race was pretty straightforward, we actually had a bit of margin to save the engine,” said the Finn. “It probably looked much closer on TV than it actually was. I had one lockup going into the last chicane where Max got a bit closer, but otherwise I was just managing and it was all under control.
“The first stint on the Soft tyres was a little better than the second one on the Mediums, where blistering was a bit of an issue, but no drama. Overall, this was a great weekend for the team.”