SUZUKA, Japan: Valtteri Bottas jumped from third to first with an electric start to win the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes teammate Lewis...
SUZUKA, Japan: Valtteri Bottas jumped from third to first with an electric start to win the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.
With only Bottas now able to overtake Hamilton in the standings, Mercedes clinched an unprecedented sixth successive drivers’-constructors’ world championship double.
“I’m happy, very happy,” said flying Finn Bottas, who ended a six-month wait for his third victory of 2019 after winning the season-opener in Australia and the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April.
“Starting third isn’t easy. I had a really nice start, managed to get the lead and then the pace was super good, I could really control the race,” he added.
“I’m really proud to be part of the team. A sixth title is really impressive.”
“Firstly congratulations to the team,” said Hamilton, who now leads the drivers’ standings by 64 points from Bottas. “That’s the main point. I just wanted to bring home good points for the team.”
Emotional Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff dedicated his team’s achievement to Formula One legend Niki Lauda, who died earlier this year.
“We want to dedicate this to Niki because he’s just been such an important part from the beginning of the journey,” said Wolff.
“I miss him every day,” said Wolff, who like Lauda hails from Austria. “When we talk in our group of friends, it’s surreal that he’s not here.”
Ferrari had enjoyed a front row lock-out in the morning qualifying session caused by Typhoon Hagibis but that was as good as “Super Sunday” got for them as their race unravelled right from the start.
Vettel twitched before the lights went out and his hesitation enabled the fast starting Bottas to leapfrog from third into the lead.