Valtteri Bottas has concluded his excellent United States Grand Prix weekend with his first career Formula One World Championship points. The Finn started ninth and finished eighth to record Williams’ best result of its challenging 2013 season. Prior to today, a 10th from teammate Pastor Maldonado in Hungary was the team’s only points-scoring finish of the season.
On paper that sounds simple, but Bottas delivered the overtaking maneuver of the race when he passed Esteban Gutierrez’ Sauber for eighth place on the outside exiting the downhill plunge through Turn 2. Twitter immediately lit up with reactions praising the move and Bottas’ commitment.
Bottas also held off a late-race charge from Nico Rosberg for the position. “Yes! Yeah! Finally!” was the radio response from Bottas to his team.
It also capped a weekend where the official “changing of the guard” occurred at the Williams Renault squad. While Bottas starred, Maldonado struggled mightily.
The Venezuelan contacted Adrian Sutil on the first lap, which sent the luckless German’s Force India into the inside guardrail on the backstraight. Maldonado’s left front wing endplate was damaged and he was issued a black and orange flag, an order to pit immediately to repair the wounded chassis.
From there Maldonado emerged at the back of the field behind even Max Chilton’s Marussia – it took several laps to get past. He ended the race 16th, after falling victim to a gutsy pass by Heikki Kovalainen’s Lotus, and far outside the points on a weekend where he suggested the team had intentionally sabotaged his car.
With Bottas’ star on the rise, not even Maldonado’s millions from the Venezuelan government might be enough to keep his place on the grid in 2014.