Valtteri Bottas declares Australian GP win as his best ever race

Florence Fletcher
March 21, 2019

McLaren new boy Lando Norris put an impressive lap on his grand prix debut to line up eighth on the grid with Kimi Raikkonen and Sergio Perez rounding off the top ten. He is very talented.

"I was told also on the radio that he's complaining about his tyres, but he made it quite safely to the end".

In the race, the two men narrowly avoided a collision at the start as Leclerc tried to pass Vettel around the outside of the first corner, and Leclerc had a trip across the grass later during his first stint.

Bottas found himself under scrutiny last season after failing to win a race, with critics questioning whether he was up to the job with the five time constructors champions.

Team principal Mattia Binotto, who replaced Maurizio Arrivabene in the close-season, said the team "decided not to take any risk with positions and. have both the cars scoring points".

"One thing we are certain is that today, this weekend, is not the real potential of the vehicle", said Binotto. "His qualifying wasn't flawless; he is aware of it".

When asked who the message was addressed to, Bottas said: "I think it would be quite a long list".

"It was really about bringing the auto home in one piece and making sure we had the one-two". The Red Bull showed great pace and at one point was just a few seconds behind Hamilton's Mercedes.

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"But then after that, I was trying to look after the tyres and then I got stopped super-early [for tyres] in reaction to the Ferraris." he added.

"I think it's not the first race where he's doing something just to go round, he was just playing at that point".

Briton Hamilton claimed a record-extending eighth pole position at Albert Park on Saturday but ended up a distant second to his resurgent team mate Valtteri Bottas, who got the jump on him at the start and burned away.

Vettel and Binotto said they did not yet know what had gone wrong in Australia to cause the vehicle to have less grip and poor balance compared to in pre-season testing in Barcelona.

"It's something that we need to try and understand", he said. It had been so close throughout the weekend and it's fantastic to see how close the top 16 are, less than a second between us all at one point and that's a real positive for the rule regulations.

He predicted: "If we can identify what the issue was we can be back even stronger". "I don't know what their problem was but I am sure they will come back strongly in the next races, so we have to stay on our toes".

"We have a good vehicle, we know it - this weekend we didn't and overall we were not competitive enough but we will be back".

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