Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas says knowledge that he could have won Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix will keep him going until the end of the year.
The Finnish driver was in the net race lead in Sochi after startinng the race from pole. But he was told team-mate Lewis Hamilton was suffering from heavy blistering and was asked to move aside.
Hamilton claimed the victory, with Bottas finished second ahead of Hamilton’s title rival Sebastian Vettel.
The decision to give team-orders means Hamilton is 50 points ahead of Vettel in the championship standings, but also that Bottas hasn’t claimed a race lead since the final round of the 2017 season.
As he’s now out of the championship fight, Bottas said he understood the situation and the fact he could have won the race has given him a confidence boost.
“For the end of the yea,r it’s only Lewis fighting for the championship,” he said. “I’m not, so for the team it’s always better that Lewis wins – that’s how it goes.
“It’s not ideal for me, as an athlete or as a person. The only thing that matters for me now, to keep me going to the end of the year, is I know that today I was supposed to win. I could have won the race on equal terms.
“I know from this weekend I was supposed to win. I know myself I’m the winner of this weekend. I don’t have the trophy, but that doesn’t matter, that’s how it is and I move on.”