Valtteri Bottas from Mercedes took P2 on the podium. The Russian weekend this season wasn’t successful for Mercedes. However, Sunday was absolutely perfect for Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas.
On Saturday The Finn earned 5th position for race start. So, at the begging of the race it seemed he doesn’t pretend on the podium. At the start Valtteri was overtaken by Carlos Sainz, on the 7th lap he managed to back position. However, both Ferraris were very fast, and Lewis was in front, so the way to the podium looked difficult. But in fact everything was different.
After Scuderia drama with Vettel and second pitstop of Leclerc, the victory and 1-2 finish went to Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton took a lead of the track and Valtteri tried to keep the pace and protect them both from Charles’ attacks. The Finn handled with it perfectly, and no matter how Leclerc tried to overtake Bottas, he couldn’t do it.
After the finish Valtteri said that result would be impossible without good teamwork and planning different strategies before the race.
"It's been a while since we last had a 1-2 and it feels really good to stand up there on the podium together again. It's really encouraging and motivating for the entire team. We knew a 1-2 would be tricky to achieve, but possible, so we spoke about all the different strategies that would give us a chance this morning," – Bottas thinks.
"Ferrari had a quick car all weekend long, I think they were quicker as well today, so to walk away with a 1-2 means that we did a great job as a team in all other areas."
As for race, it wasn’t easy for Valtteri. Before the pit stop and changing the tyres Bottas struggled with Medium, that’s why he couldn’t improve his speed. Also as it has been said after restart he was under pressure form Leclerc side, but managed to keep him behind.
"I lost quite a bit of time when I was stuck behind Sainz in the beginning and I was also struggling to match the times on the Medium tyres, but it was a lot better in the second stint on the Soft tyres. I was under a bit of pressure after the Safety Car restart, but it was all under control," – Valtteri told.
Obviously, Ferrari is still strong and has enough speed, especially the team will be very fast at Suzuka next Grand Prix. Mercedes needs to make improvement and Valtteri confirmed that there are quite a lot of things to do.
"Ferrari has made some good improvements in the past few weeks, so we know that we need to keep pushing for Japan, but I'm looking forward to the challenge," – Valtteri said.