Valtteri Bottas says he had “no reason” to think Mercedes would consider using Formula 1 team orders during the Australian Grand Prix.

The Finn dominated the 2019 season-opener in Melbourne to claim his first victory since the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, leading home a comfortable Mercedes 1-2 from teammate and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton

It was the first time Bottas had been leading a race ahead of Hamilton since last year’s Russian Grand Prix, the scene of a controversial team orders call as Mercedes instructed Bottas to give up the race win to aid Hamilton’s title bid. 

Five questions that need answering in F1 2019

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Asked if he had any flashbacks to Sochi in Australia, Bottas replied: “No, I didn’t think of that actually, and there would be no reason to think about that. 

“We are all starting a new season with zero points, we are here to fight. Both me and Lewis will want to fight this season against each other and against everyone and we are still one team so no point in thinking about those kind of things.” 

The 2018 Russian GP acted as one of the lowest points of a tough winless campaign for Bottas, who ended the year fifth in the championship while Hamilton sealed his fifth drivers’ title with 11 victories. 

Bottas had vowed to return stronger than ever this season and credited a change in approach to his preparation for 2019 as key to his turnaround in form. 

“For sure every year you learn as a person, you learn about yourself,” Bottas explained. 

“What works for you, what doesn’t work for you in terms of preparation and what preparation includes.

“How you rest, how you spend your free time, how you do the training, how much training, what kind, all those kind of things, travel plans, all sorts. So just trying to optimise everything for this year, try to maximise every single thing that is possible. 

“It’s quite difficult to explain what’s been going on here last winter, inside of my head and definitely something changed in terms of the way I feel about things in life in general and in racing, but that’s all in my thoughts. I felt good in the car this weekend and that’s all that matters.”



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