Valtteri Bottas finished second to Mercedes AMG Motorsport team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the French Grand Prix to give the team their fiftieth one-two finish in Formula 1, but for the Finn it was quite a quiet race at the Circuit Paul Ricard.
Bottas had hoped to take the fight to his team-mate and current championship leader Hamilton but after failing to beat him off the line at the start, it was clear he was not in the same league as the Briton as he ended 18.056 seconds behind at the chequered flag.
The late-race Virtual Safety Car saw him struggle on the restart with his tyres, with the front left in particular having long been suffering with blistering, meaning he was vulnerable from behind to Charles Leclerc, However, Bottas was able to withstand the final lap attack from the Scuderia Ferrari driver to take his fourth second place of the season.
Bottas admits there is work to do to work out why Hamilton was so much stronger and better on his tyres during the race in France, but he was ultimately proud to be a part of another one-two finish in a season where Mercedes have now won all eight races.
“It was a fairly quiet race in the end,” said Bottas. “The start was my best bet, but Lewis also had a good start, so the opportunity wasn’t there.
“Lewis was very quick today; I was trying to keep up, but my front tyres were starting to fall into pieces, both on the Mediums and at the end on the Hard tyres towards the end as well. We were concerned with the blistering we saw in the last part of the race, so I had to back off a little bit.
“There was definitely a bit of margin left, but we wanted to be on the safe side and make it to the end. But ultimately, Lewis had the pace advantage today and kept the tyres in better shape, so it’s something for me to have a look at and learn.
“I’m really proud of the work we’ve done as a team, scoring another 1-2 is a great result.”