Bottas hails ‘important’ Abu Dhabi win to end F1 2017 on a high

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Valtteri Bottas felt his victory in Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix was “really important” after ending a four-month win drought to finish the 2017 season on a high.

Bottas managed to convert pole position at the Yas Marina Circuit into his third career victory, soaking up race-long pressure from Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton to finish 3.8 seconds clear at the checkered flag.

The result saw Bottas end a winless run stretching back to the Austrian Grand Prix in July, offering a boost heading into the off-season.

“It is really important win for me after having a pretty difficult start to the second half of the year, working hard on all the issues and getting better and better with everything,” Bottas said.

“This weekend, I couldn’t be happier to end the season like this. Obviously, congrats to Lewis for the title, congrats to Sebastian [Vettel] for the second place in the championship.

“I was third this year – hopefully better next year.”

Hamilton drew close to Bottas on two separate occasions during the race before dropping back, but the Finn was happy with the execution of his victory.

“I was really managing the pace and that way the race, that was the feeling,” Bottas said. “It was a nice feeling. I had one bit of a lock up as I was approaching one of the lapped cars, but otherwise no issues.

“The last five laps I started to go a bit quicker, managed to build a gap. I am really pleased, the car was so good.

“You know we Finns we maybe do not show emotion, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have any. I’m so happy.

“There’s been so much support from my family and everyone, so yeah. I can’t show it too much but I feel good.”

BREAKING: John Force taken to hospital after Phoenix eliminations crash

Photo courtesy NHRA
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16-time NHRA Funny Car champ John Force has been taken to a local hospital for evaluation and examination following a wicked crash with fellow Funny Car driver Johnnie Lindberg.

The crash occurred during the quarterfinals of Sunday’s final eliminations in the NHRA Arizona Nationals at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in suburban Phoenix.

Force was headed for a win when the engine on his Peak Chevrolet Camaro blew up just as it crossed the finish line, destroying the body. Lindberg, meanwhile, lost traction about one-third of the way down-track, but then got back into the gas to try and catch Force.

Force appeared to lose control of the body-less car and went across from the left lane he was in to the right-hand lane, where he hit the retaining wall in front of Lindberg.

Lindberg tried to avoid Force, but couldn’t. To make matters worse, the body on Lindberg’s car then came off and Force’s and Lindberg’s cars got tangled up in Lindberg’s parachute, sending both chassis’ into the left retaining wall.

Lindberg emerged from his Funny Car under his own power and was checked at the medical center before heading back to his pit.

Force, meanwhile, was helped out of his mangled wreck by the NHRA Safety Safari and was transported by ambulance to the hospital due to the severity of the impact.

Even though Force will be credited with the round win, he obviously will not be able to continue for the remainder of the eliminations.

To add insult to injury, NHRA officials charged Force with oiling down the racetrack, his third of the season in just the first two races. That will cost him 15 points in the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series standings and a fine of $4,000.

Here are several posts from social media, including video of the incident from NHRA:

This is the second time Force has had an engine explode and the body blew off in the last two weeks. He also wrecked during the qualifying Feb. 9 for the season-opening Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals in Pomona, California. Here’s the video of that wreck:

MORE: John Force taken to hospital as a precaution after Funny Car motor explodes.

We’ll update Force’s condition when it becomes available.

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