Bottas proves his brilliance with incredible fightback

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Whilst a number of drivers dropped out of today’s Australian Grand Prix with a mechanical problem, Williams’ Valtteri Bottas provided much of the entertainment with a quite remarkable display of overtaking.

The Finn, who begins his second season in 2014, qualified down in 10th place but was demoted five places after a gearbox change on Saturday afternoon. However, from P15, he quickly put his Williams FW36 to good use to move up into the points and as high as sixth place.

However, whilst chasing the Ferrari of Fernando Alonso, Bottas pushed too hard through turn ten and made contact with the wall on exit. This gave him a puncture, forcing him to pit for repairs whilst the safety car came out to recover the carcass of his tire.

From 16th place though, Bottas fought back once again. Gutierrez, Perez, Grosjean, Ericsson, Kvyat, Hulkenberg, Vergne and Raikkonen were just some of his victims, powerless to stop the advances of the flying Finn.

All in all, Bottas made up nineteen positions across the course of the race, and may have been in contention for a podium finish had he not had a puncture.

This result marks a coming of age for the Finnish youngster. Having been restricted by the difficult FW35 car last season, Bottas struggled to make much of an impact, but he did impress during qualifying for the Canadian GP and during the United States GP.

However, with eight points for P6, Bottas has already doubled his own total from the whole of 2013, as well as outscoring Williams’ entire 2013 effort.

Teammate Felipe Massa was less fortunate though, retiring on lap one after being hit by Kamui Kobayashi, who had suffered a brake failure.

Position of F1 start lights altered to compensate for safety halo

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The position of start lights will be altered on Formula One tracks this season, in a bid to ensure the drivers’ line of vision is not impeded by the controversial halo protection device.

The halo is a titanium structure introduced this year in a bid to ramp up driver safety, forming a ring around the cockpit top. It is designed to protect the drivers’ head from loose debris and offer better safety during eventual collisions.

Although drivers largely understand the need for it, very few like it. They are worried it impedes visibility, it looks ugly and also that fans will no longer be able to identify a driver properly from his race helmet. Drivers also take longer to climb in and out of their cars.

Formula One’s governing body has addressed concerns and asked every circuit “to make the lights at a standard height above the track,” FIA race director Charlie Whiting said.

“Pole position seems to be the worst case scenario with the halo,” Whiting added at the season-opening Australian GP. “Maybe the driver can’t quite see the lights, or see only half of them, and he might have to move his head too much.”

The new start lights were positioned lower for Friday’s first two practice sessions at Albert Park. Drivers were also allowed the rare chance to rehearse grid starts at the end of both sessions.

“We haven’t normally allowed practice starts on the grid here because it’s quite a tight timetable,” Whiting said. “What I thought would be a good idea was to give the driver sight of those lights, rather than for the first time on Sunday evening.”

A repeat set of lights has been moved from its usual position halfway up the grid to a more convenient position to the left.

“Those repeat lights were normally halfway up the grid, and they were fitted round about 2009, when the rear wings became higher on the cars,” Whiting said. “But now the wings have been lowered, there’s no need for those halfway up the grid.”