'Ideal' start perfect for Japan win – Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas leads into T1 at Japanese GP

Valtteri Bottas says his “ideal” opening first lap provided the platform for him to take victory at Formula 1’s Japanese Grand Prix, ending his barren spell.

Bottas led the standings following wins earlier in the year in Australia and Azerbaijan, but did not add to his tally thereafter, as his title prospects narrowed.

Bottas qualified third in Japan, ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, and swept into the lead before Turn 1, as he overhauled both slow-starting Ferrari drivers.

The Finn went on to control proceedings via a two-stop strategy as he finished comfortably clear of Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton.

“I did have a very good start but for sure it was made to look better as the cars around didn’t have very good starts,” he said.

“My start was quite a good one, and what happened was pretty much ideal.

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“We knew that we had a good race car here, really good pace, but you are behind other cars you can’t really use it.

“I was obviously very happy to get the lead because when you are in the lead you can control the pace and on this track, being in free air makes a big difference. I really enjoyed it.”

Bottas added that his only concerns came during the second stint as it was “full of traffic and I was passing backmarkers all the time, so I couldn’t get into a good rhythm during that stint.

“Otherwise, Lewis still hadn’t done his second stop and I was slightly concerned that his tyres could last the distance, because maybe he had managed them well, but he was on the Medium and we struggled massively on that tyre.

“From my side, it was a very good race and on top of that I’m very, very happy for every single team member for winning the sixth constructor title in a row.”