Valtteri Bottas was unable to repeat his trick a week ago in Spielberg and win. However, he finished second after rising past Max Verstappen four laps before the goal and still leads the World Series.
The seeds of defeat were sown as early as Saturday, when Bottas was left in the fourth starting box in the rainy season, partly due to brake problems. Teammate Lewis Hamilton drove from pole position to an easy-looking victory and is now six points away from Bottas.
The situation after two races is familiar to the extent that last year Bottas was also at the top of the World Championship series. Now, however, he feels mentally in an even better state for the World Cup.
“Of course, many drivers might feel the same way because we had such an exceptionally long time doing other things, recharging the batteries properly and spending our own time,” Bottas said.
- I feel really energetic. Of course, a lot of things have happened in my private life since the end of last season, so my situation would be quite different anyway. I feel good and confident. The pace of the race was also good in this race, and if I had left a better place, I would have fought for victory.
Valtteri Bottas and girlfriend Tiffany Cromwell photographed after the first GP in Austria.
Photo: Leonhard Foeger / AFP / Journal
Bottas told Ilta-Sanomat that he had worked hard in the stable's new simulator before the season. A new “toolbox” and driving style were honed with the engineers, especially for slow bends.
Already at the Red Bull Ring, the work seemed to be paying off, and next weekend on the Hungarian Hungaroring’s slow track, new lessons will be more helpful.
- It's been real nice to see that I have been able to improve. The four-bend here is one where I was able to use a different driving style, especially in the race. Last weekend, there was a feeling that there was still room for improvement, but now it went right. There were no bends where a teammate would have had a better pace during the race, Bottas told IS with satisfaction.
The pace of competition and excessive tire wear relative to opponents have often hampered Bottas ’winning struggles in the past.
- Last year, I certainly would not have been able to race at such a good pace. I've gone ahead. Of course, only next week it will be seen better. In the last sector of Budapest, the teammate has always been strong and I have had little difficulty with that.
Valtteri Bottas (left) and teammate Lewis Hamilton celebrate Mercedes ’double victory on Sunday in Austria.
Photo: Hoch Zwei / ZumaPress / MVPhotos
Teammate Hamilton has won the Hungaroring as many as seven times. The track has always been the best of the English on the F1 calendar. In Bottas's mind, however, is his first victory in the "Finnish GP".
- I only have one goal for next week. One just has to believe that it is possible, Bottas said.
Bottas, 30, went home to Monaco between the Austrian Games. Also now he left home before moving to Hungary.
- I have no reason to keep it a secret. I go home like last time and just stay with my close people i.e. my girlfriend (Tiffany Cromwell) and my coach (Antti Vierula). It works well for me. I can quit F1 for a couple of days and then go back to virtual meetings with the team.
Formula One World Championship Series
World Championship situation for drivers: 1) Bottas 43, 2) Hamilton 37, 3) Norris 26, 4) Leclerc 18, 5) Perez 16, 6) Verstappen 15, 7) Sainz Jr. 13, 8) Albon 12, 9) Gasly 6, 10) Stroll 6, 11) Ocon 4, 12) Ricciardo 4, 13) Giovinazzi 2, 14) Kvjat 1, 15) Vettel 1.
Manufacturers World Cup situation: 1) Mercedes 80, 2) McLaren 39, 3) Red Bull 27, 4) Racing Point 22, 5) Ferrari 19, 6) Renault 8, 7) AlphaTauri 7, 8) Alfa Romeo 2.