Valtteri Bottas was pleased to score his fifth podium finish of the 2014 Formula 1 season today in Russia, feeling that Mercedes remains too far ahead to realistically be beaten under normal conditions.
The Finnish driver started from third place on the grid, but moved up into second after Nico Rosberg had to pit at the end of the first lap following a mistake at turn two.
However, Rosberg made his tires last a remarkable 52 laps to pass Bottas when the Finn took to the pit lane, and managed to stay ahead to secure a one-two finish for Mercedes behind race winner Lewis Hamilton, clinching the constructors’ championship for the German marque.
Although Bottas had once again missed out on a maiden race win, he was pleased with the result in light of Mercedes’ pace.
“I need to be happy for us as a team,” Bottas said on the podium after the race. “What we’ve been doing since last year is amazing. Again on the podium, so a good amount of points.
“We were today best of the rest. Unfortunately Mercedes is still quite a bit ahead, but we did the best we could from where we started, so we need to be happy as a team.”
With this result, Bottas has risen to fourth place in the drivers’ championship ahead of both Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso, who have six world championships between them.
In the sister Williams, Felipe Massa finished down in 11th place after starting 18th and pitting twice, adding to his run of bad luck in 2014.
The result does see Williams extend its lead over Ferrari in the constructors’ championship, and the British team looks increasingly likely to finish third behind champions Mercedes and Red Bull in second place.