Valtteri Bottas says the Styrian GP felt like “rallying in Finnish Lapland”

© Sebastian Kawka for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix ltd.

Valtteri Bottas talks about getting ahead of Sergio Perez and the effort it took keep the Mexican behind him on old worn down tyres.

Although Valtteri Bottas qualified second for the Styrian Grand Prix, the Finn was demoted to P5 for the race, because of a three-pace grid penalty.

However the Finn ultimately finished in P3 after first overtaking Lando Norris and then later Sergio Perez, following a botched pit stop by Red Bull.

“As a team, we did a good job to get ahead of him,” said the Finn.

“They had a slow pit stop I think, and we were quite reactive, stopping at that point even though we were not planning to stop that early.

“That was good. At least we get some points out of them.”

Later Perez pitted again and started catching up to Bottas on fresh soft tyres. However, the Finn managed to hold him off.

“I was pretty clear from him up until the last lap and yeah, I could see him in the mirrors. I think starting the last lap he was like 1.5 seconds [behind]. At the end of the lap he was like half a second.

“But you can’t really overtake here in sector 2 and 3, so once I got clear of sector 1 without any mistakes with the poor tyres I had, then I knew that I should get it.”

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Bottas described his final few laps of the race as being closer to “rallying” than Formula 1.

“There was not much left in my tyres at the end – today was more like rallying in Finnish Lapland than F1 in Austria!”

In the end the Finn admits Red Bull was obviously faster than Mercedes.

“At least today, on this track, Red Bull is faster. Also Checo, he was putting a lot of pressure on me. If we want to try and keep up with them, we can’t do as much tyre management.

“I definitely can feel that they are faster in the straight. I think they have a bit more efficient package overall.

“So yeah, we have work to do,” concluded Bottas.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was full of praise for the Finn after the race.

“[He was] managing his tyre whilst being fast,” the Austrian said.

“He was really in a perfect situation, and you can see that without the penalty he would have been in the mix, no doubt about that.

“Having said that, Lewis [Hamilton] and Valtteri had the same armoury, and that wasn’t performing enough to beat Max [Verstappen],” concluded Wolff.

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