Valtteri Bottas says he felt “quite lonely” at points during Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix before rising to second late on following Charles Leclerc’s power unit issue.

Bottas ran second on the opening lap, but spent the early part of the race scrapping for P4 with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen as he struggled to keep up with the leading three drivers.

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The Finn managed to pick up a position after a second pit stop when Sebastian Vettel spun and lost his front wing, before then grabbing P2 with five laps remaining after erstwhile leader Leclerc hit trouble.

With P2, Bottas managed to retain his lead in the drivers’ championship ahead of Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton, but explained how his race was quiet at points.

“There were many points that were very exciting and interesting in the race and good fun. But then there were other points in the race where I felt quite lonely,” Bottas said.

“It was extremely difficult to keep the rhythm during the race. But there were some good battles, and I managed to save the engine at some point when there was no threat from behind and a big gap for those in front. I also had something like a plastic bag stuck on my front wing, costing performance.

“It was not the perfect race but, in the end, luck was on our side and we’ll definitely take it, especially me, after the bad luck from last year.

“Obviously hard luck for Charles, he was very strong, but it will come for him.

“I had to wait more than 80 races to get my first win, so I’m sure he’s going to be OK.”

 

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