Valtteri Bottas was unable to make it a Red Bull Ring double on Sunday, but the Finn will go into next weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix on top of the championship standings.
After Qualifying down in fourth in difficult conditions on Saturday, Bottas was made to work hard during Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix, battling early on with McLaren F1 Team’s Carlos Sainz Jr. before catching and passing Max Verstappen late in the day to claim second position to give the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team a one-two finish.
Bottas admits that his relatively lowly grid position – seven days previously he was on pole position at the same track – and the pace of team-mate Lewis Hamilton meant it was always going to be a ‘damage limitation’ day for him.
“Starting fourth, I think today was all about damage limitation and we managed to maximise everything available to us,” said Bottas. “Yesterday wasn’t ideal so that’s why it wasn’t 25 points today, but we still scored some good points, the car performance was great and I’m still leading the Championship, so it’s not too bad.”
Bottas says he enjoyed the on-track battle with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s Verstappen, with the Finn using the superior speed of the Mercedes W11 and slightly better tyres to first catch and then pass the Dutchman.
“I had a good battle with Max, I had quite a bit more pace than him at the end as we extended the first stint to create a tyre offset, but racing closely is always fun and it was good to get the pass done,” he said.
“It’s been an encouraging first couple of races so I’m looking forward to next weekend.”