Valtteri Bottas felt disappointed to see his hopes of winning Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix slip away after being passed for the lead with 12 laps to go by Red Bull Formula 1 rival Daniel Ricciardo.

Bottas made a good start to rise from third to second on the opening lap, and managed to get the undercut on Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the pit stops to move into the lead before half-distance.

A Safety Car period gave Red Bull the chance to pit Ricciardo for a fresh set of tyres, with the Australian surging from sixth to first in just eight laps, completing his charge with a brave pass on Bottas at Turn 6.

Bottas held on to take second place at the chequered flag despite coming under pressure from Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, but felt he deserved more in Shanghai.

“The race was going pretty well for us until and we were looking strong all the way until the Safety Car. Then we were in trouble with Daniel and nearly with Kimi [Raikkonen] in the end,” Bottas said.

“It is disappointing, we gave it everything we had and I kind of feel we deserved the win. But we didn’t get it today.”

Ricciardo’s winning move at Turn 6 stood out from his charge through the pack, but Bottas felt it was just a matter of time before he lost the position such was the Red Bull driver’s pace.

“I was defending, I obviously saw him very close in the first three corners, in the exit as well. He was closing lap after lap with pretty big gain,” Bottas explained.

“I think from my side there wasn’t much to do. I tried to defend but ultimately he had much better tyres he could brake quite a lot later on the inside.

“I think it was all fair. I think it was just a matter of time with the pace he had.”

BOTTAS’ PACE ‘THE ONLY GOOD THING’ FOR MERCEDES

Bottas’ performance won plaudits from Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff, who said it was the sole positive to take from a difficult weekend for the defending constructors’ champion team.

“The whole weekend was not good for all of us. The only thing that I see positive was Valtteri’s race today, that was awesome,” Wolff said.

“No mistakes, unlucky with the Safety Car, and even with the Ricciardo overtake, if Valtteri wouldn’t have opened the door last minute, Ricciardo would have taken him out.

“So he’s the only one who was without fault today. We lacked pace. It’s just all around not the level that we all expect and hope.”

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