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.