Valtteri Bottas says Mercedes’ 1-2 at the Russian Grand Prix is great for the team and will motivate them going forward.
The Finn and his team-mate Lewis Hamilton struggled to match Ferrari all weekend but ended up finishing P2 and P1 respectively after Sebastian Vettel retired and caused a Virtual Safety Car.
“You never accept P2, but it’s a very good result for the team,” Bottas said.
“I’m happy for us and yeah, starting P4 and finishing P2, knowing that there were always going to be two pretty quick cars ahead, the red ones, is good.
Hamilton and Bottas passed Leclerc as they had yet to pit when the VSC came out and therefore lost far less time doing so, and Bottas says this is why Mercedes opted to start them both on the medium tyre.
“It was always the plan, since yesterday, that we were going to go long with the first stint to try and maximise any luck we could get on our side with a VSC or Safety Car and it happened,” Bottas added.
“Obviously we needed that luck, but with the tyre choice we made we always knew it was possible.
“I’m glad it went like this, it’s very, very motivating for the whole team.
“I think it’s been a while since the last 1-2 so it’s nice to have it again, and I’m sure every team personnel is happy about that.
Bottas managed to hold off Leclerc for the final 15 laps of the race after the Safety Car ended, allowing Hamilton to run away with the victory.
“They’re (Ferrari) so quick on the straights so you just need to try and build a big gap before the main straight and before the back straight.
“I had to push hard in the corners, maybe sometimes a bit harder than I wanted to, but in the end he didn’t really have a proper chance to overtake so not too bad.”