(AFP) - Valtteri Bottas admitted he had to “dodge some bullets” and ride his luck as he claimed a convincing victory Sunday in the belated 2020 season-opening Austrian Grand Prix.
The 30-year-old Finn, who started from his career 12th pole position and third at the Red Bull Ring, led from start to finish to deliver his eighth victory and repeat his first day triumph from last year.
“Winning a Formula One Grand Prix is never easy, but today didn't definitively come easy at all,” he said as he overshadowed Mercedes teammate and six-time world champion Lewis Hamilton who was fourth.
“In the first stint, Lewis lost a bit of time getting through the Red Bulls, so there was quite a bit of margin.
“So, the first stint was not that bad because I had a decent gap, I could control and make sure we'd make it to the target stop lap. I tried to do the right thing with the tyres and maintaining the car.
“In the second stint there was never, like, massive pressure, because I was up in front and we wanted to make really sure we made it to the end, but there were all these variables in the race -- we had issues with some sensors that were damaged by the vibration over the kerbs.”
Bottas had also won the 2019 season opener in Australia but had to wait a lot longer this time after the coronavirus pandemic left the sport on ice until this weekend.
“When you are in the lead, getting one Safety Car after another! In the end, I was like 'again?' because when you are in the lead you just want things to be constant and trouble-free.
“There were so many variables, but I managed to dodge so many bullets today and get the win."