Valtteri Bottas was pleased to fend off Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the final stages of yesterday’s Bahrain Grand Prix to hang on and secure fourth place for Williams.
Bottas started from fifth place on the grid and endured a rather lonely race in his first two stints, enjoying a healthy buffer to the cars behind, but standing little chance of catching the Ferrari and Mercedes cars ahead.
However, after making a mistake and sustaining front wing damage to his SF15-T car, Vettel was forced to make an unscheduled third pit stop, dropping himself behind Bottas in the running order.
Despite having fresher tires and the quicker car, Vettel was unable to find a way past for fourth place, despite making a number of attempts to hustle the Finn into a mistake.
Bottas crossed the line to finish fourth and record his best result of the season so far, and was pleased to have defeated Vettel on track.
“I am pleased with the race and happy with fourth position,” Bottas said. “It was a lonely race but the final 20 laps were very tough.
“Sebastian was quicker than me, and closed up behind very fast, but the fight was really good fun. I know a few tricks that can really help to defend and they all worked today, and I am delighted to come out on top today.”
His teammate, Felipe Massa, failed to continue his good start to the season following a problem firing up the car for the parade lap. After stalling his car, the Brazilian was forced to start from the pit lane, dropping him to the back of the field.
Massa managed to fight his way back through the field to pick up a point for tenth place, but remained frustrated by the result.
“It was a frustrating day for me to have to start from the pitlane,” Massa said. “The car struggled to fire-up and once under way I had a lot of positions to make up.
“A few laps in at turn four, Maldonado ran into the back of me and damaged something. From then on I really struggled with the rear and the car was very hard to drive.
“It was a difficult day but one point is better than nothing.”