Valtteri Bottas felt he, Mercedes deserved Chinese GP victory
Valtteri Bottas feels he and Mercedes “deserved” victory at Formula 1’s Chinese Grand Prix.
Bottas jumped from third to second at the start and used the undercut to overhaul pole sitter and early leader Sebastian Vettel.
Bottas kept a one-second buffer to Vettel, with the pair poised to run to the end on Medium tyres, but a Safety Car period for debris on-track brought Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo into play.
Ricciardo, on fresher and softer rubber, carved his way forward from sixth spot and grabbed the lead from Bottas, with the Finn unable to resist his opponent or fight back.
Bottas went on to take second, having kept compatriot Kimi Raikkonen at bay during the closing laps.
“The race was going pretty well for us and we were looking strong all the way, until the guys, during the safety car, stopped and we were in trouble then with Daniel and nearly with Kimi in the end,” said Bottas.
“It is disappointing. We were giving everything we had and it kind of felt like we deserved victory.
“It felt like everything was under control. I had no major [tyre] drop-off in the end, so I think we could have done it [kept Vettel behind], but this is racing, these things happen.”
Bottas felt that Mercedes was “as competitive” as Ferrari on the harder compound tyres, having been half a second adrift on the Ultrasoft during qualifying.
“Actually [the balance] felt OK [in qualifying], we were just not quite quick enough with the Ultrasoft,” said Bottas.
“[In the race] we only used Soft and Medium and I think on the Soft [the gap] was next to nothing, the difference to Ferrari. We were as competitive as them.
“I think with the Medium it was pretty much the same case. So, for sure, starting the race from the second row [of the grid] makes it more difficult.”