Bottas relieved to win with ‘one of the best races I’ve ever had’ after dominant display in Turkey
Valtteri Bottas was back to his very best in Turkey, the Finn taking his first victory in over a year with a flawless display to end up more than 14 seconds clear of runner-up Max Verstappen. After such a long win drought and memories of his 2020 Turkish GP misery, Bottas was understandably ecstatic.
Bottas led away from pole position and built up a healthy gap over Red Bull’s Verstappen in the early stages. And although the Finn lost the lead late on to Charles Leclerc, he regained it by breezing past the Ferrari down the inside of Turn 1 to win his first race of 2021 – and in testing conditions, as the Istanbul Park surface was covered in a greasy sheen thanks to light rain.
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“I think from my side, I have to say, probably one of the best races I’ve had ever,” said Bottas after his 10th victory. “The car has been good in every condition and I had good confidence with it and could really control it.
“It feels… awesome. It feels good and I don’t know, almost like a relief that I actually won a race this year,” he added. “It’s been a while – and it was not an easy race win; with these conditions we just needed to have full focus, non-stop, and I couldn’t do any mistakes. Actually, the pace I had was really good, so I was confident with the car.”
Given that he spun six times and finished a lowly 14th in last year’s Turkish Grand Prix, the contrast between that and this year’s race was not lost on the Finn, who said it was like “night and day”.
“The track luckily is quite grippy even in wet conditions, inter conditions, so it makes it a lot better than last year – it was like night and day here – and also in terms of my race, I had probably the worst race of my career here last year and now one of the best,” he said. “So, a lot better…”
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With the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit Of The Americas up next – the circuit where compatriot Kimi Raikkonen won his last race before moving to Alfa Romeo – Bottas, himself bound for the Swiss squad, said he’ll burn the midnight oil to make sure he can take another win.
“I don’t have a crystal ball, but on paper, I think it [COTA] should be one of the good ones hopefully – that’s what we hope – but we’ll work hard in the next two weeks to... make sure we’re in the position to fight for a win again,” said Bottas.