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Bottas just misses out on first F1 point after 'great race'
25 March 2013
F1 2013 rookie Valtteri Bottas put in a 'great race' and came close to claiming his first point in the Malaysian Grand Prix at the weekend.
The Williams driver, who was knocked out in Q1 on Saturday and who only qualified 18th at the Sepang International Circuit, made amends in the race and fought his way back to eleventh at the chequered flag - despite running wide in the slippery conditions on the opening lap.
In the end he finished just 1.486 seconds off Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric Vergne, who claimed tenth and the final point, a good effort considering this was only his second outing at the pinnacle of the sport.
“I had a good start but then I drove off the dry line racing [Giedo] van der Garde and ran wide dropping to the back of the field. Once the track started to dry though, I was able to start overtaking a few cars and I had a good, clean race,” said the Finn.
“The team did a great job with the strategy and with a few more laps I could have started attacking for a championship point.
“We maximised what we had today but I trust in the team that we can now continue working together to improve.”
Team-mate Pastor Maldonado meanwhile had to retire 11 laps from the end due to a KERS problem, although he had already lost time and had to pit for a new nose on lap 15 when he went off the track.
“The intermediate tyres made the start of the race very difficult as it was very slippery, particularly in the first sector. We had a good strategy to pit earlier in the race and opt for the dry tyres,” Maldonado recounted.
“I then made a small mistake on braking into Turn 11 which forced me to run wide and damage the front wing slightly.
“After a new set of tyres, the pace in the second stint was good, but unfortunately my race ended early after a KERS problem forced us to retire the car. We will now work hard to prepare as best we can for the next two flyaway races.”
“After running wide on the first lap, Valtteri drove a great race to fight back through the field and finish just outside the points,” summarised Williams technical director, Mike Coughlan.
“We ran different strategies with both cars with Pastor needing to pit early for a new nose after running wide on lap 15. We then had a KERS problem on his car which meant he had to stop out on track as a precaution. The team are now investigating this.
“Overall we feel our performance has improved since Melbourne [just seven days ago], but we still have work to do,” Coughlan concluded.
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