Bottas pleased with strong run to P11

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Williams may be struggling greatly with their 2013 car, the FW35, but Valtteri Bottas is pleased with his 11th-placed finish in the Malaysian Grand Prix.

“I had a good start but then I drove off the dry line racing van der Garde and ran wide dropping to the back of the field. Once the track started to dry I was able to start overtaking a few cars and I had a good, clean race.”

Bottas managed to finish ahead of fellow rookies Esteban Gutierrez and Jules Bianchi, and he only finished a couple of seconds behind Jean-Eric Vergne who scored the final championship point on offer in Malaysia. The prospect of scoring points so early into his F1 career excited Bottas, who believes that he could have caught Vergne.

“The team did a great job with the strategy and with a few more laps I could have stated attacking for a championship point.

“We maximized what we had today but I trust in the team that we can now continue working together to improve.”

Pastor Maldonado retired for the third consecutive year in Malaysia due to a KERS failure, but the Venezuelan driver was also pleased with Williams’ strategy.

“The intermediate tires made the start of the race very difficult. We had a good strategy to pit earlier in the race and opt for the dry tires. The pace in the second stint was good, but unfortunately my race ended early after a KERS problem forced us to retire the car.

“We will now work hard to prepare as best we can for the next two flyaway races.”

Williams are one of just three teams yet to score any points in 2013, with Marussia and Caterham also failing to record a top ten finish so far this season.

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force has another spectacular motor explosion

Photo courtesy NHRA
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Legendary NHRA Funny Car driver John Force endured yet another spectacular motor explosion – his third in the NHRA’s first three national event races – during Friday’s qualifying at the Amalie Motor Oil Gatornationals in Gainesville, Florida.

It’s the kind of consistency the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ could do without.

The 68-year-old Force came to Gainesville hoping to break the jinx that saw him endure explosions in both the season-opening Winternationals and the second race of the season in Phoenix.

Both motor explosions sent Force to the hospital for examination before he returned to the race track.

Friday, even though the motor in his Chevrolet Camaro blew up again (in the second round of qualifying), at least this time, Force didn’t wind up in the hospital.

He did have his right hand bandaged from a cut suffered in the explosion, but did not have to go to the hospital this time.

He even joked about not having to add yet another ambulance bill to the nearest Gainesville hospital.

But the explosion still proved costly.

“That was another body and that hurts the financial (bottomline),” Force said. “I was out $500,000 to $600,000, and now we are probably out $800,000, going on a million. In drag racing, you have to be tough.”

He ended the day qualifying 14th, not a very comfortable position with two more rounds of qualifying set for Saturday.

Force continues to be mystified why the motors keep exploding.

“I really thought we had it, I thought we were there,” Force said. “In the first round we drove it 500 feet and shut it off. It looked great. We ran it again that run and I was only going to drive it 800 feet even if we didn’t make The Show.”

Force will attempt to improve his qualifying spot during Saturday’s final two rounds to make Sunday’s eliminations.

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