Report: Mallya praises Bottas’ season to date

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While at times both Force India and Williams have starred this season – Williams more recently, on the strength of Valtteri Bottas’ run of podiums – it’s Force India’s team boss praising Bottas that’s making a bit of news during the Formula One summer break.

Team principal Vijay Mallya hailed Bottas’ second-year leap in performance in comments made to Autosport.

“There can be no two opinions that Bottas has been the star of the season so far,” Mallya told Autosport. “Not only does he have the killer instinct but also the maturity not to get flustered.”

You can take this one of two ways.

One, Mallya is being magnanimous and genuinely praising a rival for his efforts this season.

Or, two, Mallya is short-sighting his own squad and own drivers, Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, who haven’t been able to do quite as much as Bottas with the Force India chassis and the similar Mercedes power unit.

It’s an odd statement to make because until Hungary, Hulkenberg had scored points in every race – and for the most part, exceeded his machinery. Perez, meanwhile, bagged Force India’s first podium in five years with third at Bahrain earlier this year.

As it is, Mallya’s up for a fight the remainder of the season, and his drivers will have to beat Bottas on a regular basis to move Force India forward from fifth in the Constructor’s Championship.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”