Finn expected to swim easy after first triumph - Times LIVE
Sat May 27 11:59:15 SAST 2017

Finn expected to swim easy after first triumph

Reuters | 2017-05-02 08:42:26.0
LET US SPRAY: Valtteri Bottas of Finland and Mercedes GP celebrates on the podium after winning the Formula One Grand Prix in Sochi, Russia, on Sunday.

Valtteri Bottas waited 81 races for his first Formula One win and now more success is expected for the Finn.

"To win the first Grand Prix ... is always the most difficult one," said the retired triple champion and non-executive chairman of Bottas's Mercedes team, Niki Lauda.

"This I know out of my own experience. So every one that comes next, for him his life is easier. He has proven that he can win.

"As soon as you win the first Grand Prix, a big load comes off," added the Austrian, who was surprised Ferrari did not win in Sochi, Russia, given their race pace and having both cars starting in the front row.

The Finn has had to wait longer than most to scale the top step of the podium, but the man he replaced in January, retired 2016 world champion Nico Rosberg, took his first victory in his 111th Grand Prix start after also starting out at Williams.

Fellow Finn Mika Hakkinen, world champion in 1998 and 1999 with McLaren, took 96 races.

Only last week, reporters were asking Bottas about having to accept so-called "team orders" and help triple champion teammate Lewis Hamilton in the title battle against Sebastian Vettel, but it looks different already.

Bottas is now just 10 points adrift of Hamilton and, having started the season as an emergency stopgap, can now quite legitimately see himself in the championship mix.

That situation poses another headache for Hamilton but is one that the Mercedes team are relaxed about having to manage.


If you have an opinion you would like to share on this article, please send us an e-mail to the Times LIVE iLIVE team. In the mean time, click here to view the Times LIVE iLIVE section.