Valtteri Bottas admitted he was “quite angry with myself” for an error which gave him a puncture during the Australian Grand Prix.
Having started from 15th on the grid, Bottas made rapid progress through the field and was running in sixth place close behind Fernando Alonso on lap 10 when he tapped the wall on the outside of Turn 10. That gave Bottas a right rear puncture and he limped back to the pits before recovering to finish the race in sixth, and he said he was angry at himself for making the mistake which cost him the chance of a better result.
“It was going really well,” Bottas said. “I managed to avoid the crash at the first corner, I saw [Kamui] Kobayashi taking someone out and in the end that was Felipe [Massa] so I got some positions there. The race started really well, the pace seemed to be good so I was just picking up car-by-car. I was pushing really hard because I saw that this race could be very good but it turned out I was pushing a bit too much.
“I was quite close to Alonso and just went slightly wide in the exit of Turn 9 [sic] and just touched the wall. So I was pushing too much and was quite angry with myself but luckily I could continue. I knew the mission, I wanted to make up for my mistake and come back as high as possible.
“For sure the safety car helped, the pack was together so then again I could start over taking cars one-by-one. The pace of the car was good, the tyres were behaving actually more consistently than I was expecting them to; I was expecting more drop-off from the tyres but they were holding on quite well.”
Asked if he felt a podium was achievable without his puncture, Bottas replied: “It's difficult to say.
“With the safety car the pack was together again so it's difficult to estimate exactly how much time I lost overtaking and behind other cars. Definitely if we had a good qualifying and a clean race then we had a car here to fight for the podium.
“As a team for us it's a different team now. Now we have more points than last year and the car is so much quicker compared to others so I'm really happy with what we've done over the winter and in the testing.”
Bottas was later promoted to fifth place when Daniel Ricciardo was excluded from the race for exceeding the maximum fuel flow