Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas fended off Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel on Sunday to claim his second career victory and his first in Austria. Just like his first win in Russia, Bottas was being chased by the same driver and he barely won against him, by putting the backmarkers to good use. With this win, the ‘other Flying Finn’ has now proved his capabilities and has become a serious contender for the World Championship.
There were several strong performers during the weekend such as Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo Haas’ Romain Grosjean and Williams’ Felipe Massa, but I believe that Bottas was the one who drove the best among all drivers and gave a complete performance.
Bottas finished in the Top 3 in all practice sessions and also lined up his Mercedes W08 on pole position for the race. He made a lightning-fast getaway; his reaction time was a superhuman-like 0.2 seconds after the lights went out and that made Sebastian Vettel seriously question whether Bottas jumped the start. In reality though, the stewards decided that the start was fair and square, much to the unhappiness of Vettel.
key to victory
Bottas worked his Ultrasoft tyres perfectly to build up a lead of 5 seconds at the end of the first stint and in the second stint, when his Supersoft tyres were degrading as fast as Vettel was catching him, he narrowly kept the determined German behind him by using the backmarkers to his advantage and by conserving his tyres to triumph at the Red Bull Ring. Bottas looks hungrier than ever for success but he will have to fight even harder for it when Formula One returns to Silverstone, the home of his teammate Lewis Hamilton, for the British Grand Prix.