Valtteri Bottas has confessed he had doubts on the Mercedes team strategy which enabled him to fight back for second place wihile he’s certain “the win will come” after missing out to teammate Lewis Hamilton.

The Finnish driver dropped to third place behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel after the German driver profited from his slipstream to overtake him around the first turn but fought back later in the race with Mercedes risking a one-stop strategy in order to keep the all-important track position at Circuit de Catalunya.

Bottas admits he thought the Mercedes strategy call might backfire at the end of the race with his medium tyres struggling for performance but as the Spanish Grand Prix unfolded Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was able to take third place off Vettel to enable the Finn to take a comfortable runner-up result behind Hamilton.

“Even though I had a difficult start and Sebastian got between us the result was from all the decisions the team made of the race,” Bottas said. “The Safety Car and then the Virtual Safety car and the team was really dynamic today, going for one stop and being really aggressive. I think we did 45 laps with the medium tyres and we never thought that would be possible, but it was. And the car was so good today, it was really impressive.

“The conditions changed and the tyres were behaving better than expected today, so it was possible. I’m happy the team spotted that and maybe Ferrari didn’t. I think we had good race intelligence today.”

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Bottas has secured three second place finishes in the opening five rounds in 2018 but is yet to taste victory this year while teammate Hamilton has now achieved back-to-back wins to extend his F1 world championship lead to 17 points on Vettel.

The Finnish driver feels he’s within touching distance of his first win since the 2017 F1 finale in Abu Dhabi having been “a team player” in Spain.

“As a team we were absolutely perfect all weekend, we need to continue like that and then, for me, the win will also come,” he said. “There’s always a part of me that’s not happy being second because I want to win races.

“It’s a long year ahead. I’m a racer, I want to win and second isn’t ideal but today it couldn’t have been better and I’m also a team player.”

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