Bottas proud to score Williams’ first podium of 2015

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Valtteri Bottas became the first driver outside of Mercedes and Ferrari to finish on the podium in 2015 by crossing the line in third place for Williams in Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.

The Finn started fourth on the grid, and managed to move into the top three when Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen spun after making his first pit stop, losing a position.

In spite of Raikkonen’s best efforts to catch up and reclaim the position, Bottas went unchallenged in the final stages of the race as he crossed the line in third place with a five second advantage over the Ferrari driver.

“Yeah really happy for us as a team, really proud,” Bottas said.

“Proud member of the team. There was really good teamwork all weekend. The mistake Kimi made allowed us to get one position, and we also changed the plan with the strategy in the race which I thought was really dynamic. Really good job from the team, and it was not a bad race from me either.”

Bottas did not play down the importance of the result for Williams, and believes that it could be the catalyst in kick-starting the team’s season.

“I think we really needed this result,” he said. “Like we saw last year it really boosts confidence, and we know again now that we’re a top team and that we can fight for the podiums.

“I think from Austria, with the package we have coming there, I think from then onwards we really hope we can repeat at least these kind of results.”

Bottas’ teammate, Felipe Massa, managed to fight his way through the field from 15th place on the grid to finish sixth at the line, cementing Williams’ third place in the constructors’ standings.

NBCSN will present ‘Race and Sports in America: Conversations’ Monday

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With motor racing reckoning with its own issues of diversity and equality, “Race and Sports in America: Conversations” will tackle the topics of social justice with several athletes. The show will air at 8 p.m. ET Monday, July 13 on NBCSN, Golf Channel, Olympic channel and on regional sports networks.

The roundtable discussions will be hosted by Damon Hack and feature Charles Barkley, Steph Curry, Jimmy Rollins and Ozzie Smith in one segment. The other segment will include Kyle Rudolph, Anthony Lynn, Troy Mullins and James Blake.

Race has been a major topic in motorsports this year.

NASCAR banned the Confederate flag at its race after lobbying by Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in the premier Cup Series. In Formula One, six-time series champion Lewis Hamilton has joined Black Lives Matter marches in London and also formed a panel on diversity. The lone Black driver in F1 also led 14 of 20 drivers taking a knee before the season opener in Austria.