[F1 2018 VIDEO FEATURE] VALTTERI BOTTAS: SPANISH RESET

2018 is proving to be a challenging year for Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, the Finn robbed of two-straight race wins by freak incidents.

In China, he was in-front on Lap 30 of 56 – and building a gap on Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, when the two Toro Rossos collided at the hairpin, which triggered the safety car… just as Bottas passed the pit entry.

Red Bull Racing responded by double stacking its drivers, unleashing Daniel Ricciardo on new softs. The Australian passing five drivers in eight laps, including Bottas for the lead, and win.

SOUNDBITE (English) DANIEL RICCIARDO,
F1 DRIVER, RED BULL RACING:
“Knowing we had a good soft tyre, a new soft tyre, for the restart - that was already exciting, knowing we might be able to fight our way from sixth through to a podium. Once I got into, I think, fourth place, then I was like, I felt the car's speed and I was like ‘the win is on’.”

While in Azerbaijan, Bottas was leading on Lap 49 of 51 – when his tyre burst on the main straight from what was later revealed to be leftover Red Bull carbon fibre debris.

“Oh my god! It just blew up on its own!” said an exasperated Bottas over team radio as his right rear tyre exploded.

He could even have won Bahrain, had he made a killer move on Vettel in the race’s closing stages – though his conservative approach was likely a result of his qualifying crash at the previous round in Australia.

Bottas began this year determined to up his game, and take his results to the next level after his maiden three wins taken last year.

SOUNDBITE (English) VALTTERI BOTTAS,
F1 DRIVER, MERCEDES:
“I'm just really going to focus on my performance - go day by day, session by session, lap by lap and try to be my best at every single time I'm on the track.”

Across the first four events, Bottas and Hamilton mostly share the honours with results locked at 2-2 in qualifying and races – though the Brit won in Baku, and has 30 more points.

The Spanish Grand Prix – traditionally marking the start of F1’s European season – will be a chance for the Finn to reset mentally, and double-down after a difficult start to the year at the first four flyaways.

All he needs now is a little luck to again stand on the podium’s top step.

SOUNDBITE (English) VALTTERI BOTTAS,
F1 DRIVER, MERCEDES:
“I got my first wins, first poles and now I’m very hungry for more.”