Valtteri Bottas believes wheel spin caused by running over painted white lines directly in front of his grid slot resulted in his sluggish start at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Bottas had outpaced Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton throughout the weekend on his way to sealing pole position, but it was the reigning world champion who got away quicker to grab the lead on the run into Turn 1.

The start proved decisive in the outcome of the race, with Hamilton going on to control proceedings out front on his way to a comfortable second victory of the 2019 season.

“I lost at the start,” Bottas explained. “It was a shame, I got a bit of wheel spin when I went on the white line, the start/finish line that was just after my box and I lost it there.

“It was the same on the formation lap start as well, just going over the paint. I need to have a look to see if there’s anything I could have done with that, but bad luck.

“It is incredibly small margins, but it’s still early days in the season and things are looking good.”

Despite pre-race suggestions that Ferrari would be favourites after its strong showing in Bahrain, Mercedes outpaced its chief rival throughout in China to score its third straight one-two finish and cap off a perfect start to the campaign.

“For us as a team it has been a perfect start,” Bottas said. “We couldn’t image getting three one-twos in a row, so that’s very good.

“I’m really proud for the team and it’s very positive. We did have a strong race pace and better pace than in Bahrain. A different track and it’s again going to be a very unique track at the next race.

“But we are in a good position and I am only a few points behind from the lead [of the championship] so it will be still interesting.”

Bottas now trails Hamilton by six points in the drivers’ championship, while Mercedes leads Ferrari by 57 points.

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