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Bottas perfects strategy, gets lucky in charge to P2 at Silverstone

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Valtteri Bottas edged closer to the summit of the Formula 1 drivers’ championship on Sunday by charging from ninth to second in the British Grand Prix, having perfected his strategy and enjoyed a slice of luck along the way.

Bottas qualified fourth, but was forced to drop back five places after receiving a gearbox change penalty earlier in the weekend, denting the Finn’s podium hopes.

Bottas was able to make up a number of places in the early stages before running deep into the race on the soft tire, making the switch to the super-soft late in order to go on a charge.

After emerging back on-track in fourth place, Bottas overtook Sebastian Vettel before then rising to second when Kimi Raikkonen suffered a tire issue.

With teammate Lewis Hamilton going wire-to-wire for victory, Bottas helped complete a perfect weekend for Mercedes that saw it top every session and leave with maximum points.

“For us, as a team, really perfect weekend given the circumstances, how we started today, me in ninth place. It’s just amazing what we’ve done today,” Bottas said.

“The car was so good to drive today. It was really quick and the team did a perfect strategy for both of us, I think, me and Lewis.

“I did start the race on the soft tire and had to run really long and we actually had to extend the first stint quite a bit because everything was still looking good. Towards the end, when I went to the supersoft, the pace was quick with the fresh tire.

“Sebastian was closing on Kimi. I think realistically he would have been a bit too far away, definitely, for me to get P2 but then I got lucky, on the other hand, he got unlucky to lose his second place.

“But 1-2 is perfect.”

Bottas is now just 23 points shy of Vettel at the top of the F1 drivers’ championship with half of the races run this season, and has scored more points than anyone over the last five rounds.

McLaren almost back on schedule with 2018 F1 car after delay

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McLaren is almost back on schedule with its 2018 Formula 1 car development after losing two weeks due to a delay in deciding on its engine supplier, according to racing director Eric Boullier.

McLaren confirmed back in September it would be cutting ties with Honda at the end of the year after three difficult seasons, favoring a switch to Renault power units.

The decision was not taken lightly by McLaren, causing it to lose two weeks in the development of next year’s car, but Boullier confirmed in an interview with the official F1 website that the team is almost back on-track.

“Maybe we made the decision to change the engine manufacturer two weeks too late for our schedule, but these two weeks have almost been recovered,” Boullier said.

“Any big decisions are always difficult to take. The concept of McLaren winning with Honda was a dream for everybody, yes – it was a beautiful story.

“Today we have huge respect for them and we definitely don’t divorce with fights and screams and finger pointing. We are all very professional – and in the end it was a business decision, which they understand.

“There is a sadness that it didn’t work out like we wanted. McLaren-Honda in terms of brands was a good fit – in terms of results it didn’t work.

“That’s what it is in the end. Now we have to see that we get back to competitiveness – back to the top!”