RESULTS: Malaysian Grand Prix – Race results
Valtteri Bottas turned in one of his and Williams' best results of the season in the Malaysian Grand Prix after making an aggressive one-stop strategy work at Sepang.
Having failed to make it through to Q2 after qualifying 11th, Bottas made the most of his flexible tyre options to attempt an unusual one-stop strategy few considered possible in light of the soaring track temperatures.
However, with the Pirelli tyres holding on longer than expected and three Virtual Safety Car periods slowing down the pace at pivotal moments, Bottas took full advantage to maintain solid pace on the set of medium tyres he started on before ascending to fifth as others came back in againist during the final caution.
POINTS: F1 World Championship Standings after the Malaysian GP
“I think it was a good race from us,” the Finn said. “I also feel it was a good race from me, so it's always a good feeling when this happens. Finishing in fifth place after starting from 11th place, it's pretty much everything we could expect. We could really execute the Plan A, so that was good, everything went as planned and a couple of DNF's helped us.
“We thought [one stop] wasn't possible but overnight they did the calculations and starting with Mediums, factoring in how much the track would improve from Saturday to Sunday, and then slotting the hard tyres on, it was just about possible. A couple of Virtual Safety Car periods helped us to recover the tyres and it was possible, but not easy.”
A risk that paid off in a season that has seen Williams struggle to get the best from its tyres, the result comes after Williams hired a new tyre strategist ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix in an effort to overcome one of its weaknesses.
Though yet to have a confirmed deal for 2017, Bottas' fifth place consolidates his seventh position in the standings.
Latest Tweets from Crash.net & GPF1rst