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Early patience crucial for Bottas in Silverstone fight-back

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, British Grand Prix
© XPB 

Valtteri Bottas started the British Grand Prix from ninth place on the grid on Sunday, and successfully battled his way forward to make it a Mercedes 1-2 at the chequered flag.

"It's really happy for us today," he said after the race. "Definitely not an easy race for us, starting from P9. There were many cars not easy to get through.

"But the team did absolutely perfect strategy. I just kept my head down, kept going," he said, admitting that he had got lucky when both Ferraris suffered late tyre issues.

"It feels good. As a team we really maximised it today. Obviously 1-2 is the maximum you can get. And for the starting point - I started ninth - where we started from, it feels very good. The team really maximised the strategy, and I had to do something as well!"

Bottas explained that patience played a key role in his success. He managed to go 32 laps into the race on his first set of soft tyres before switching to supersofts.

"That was really the key for me today," he said.

"There were times in the first stint that I was kind of stuck. Quicker than Sebastian before the first stop at at some point they were battling.

"It was so temping to get into the fight and get fighting and sliding the car and getting the lock-ups and having the rear snaps. I just had to keep calm and wait for my opportunity when they stopped.

"When the time came I just had to keep pushing flat-out and then as we ran later than the others, I was on the more fresh tyre at the end and could really attack them.

Bottas made a big move on Vettel around the outside of Stowe with eight laps remaining, but the four-time world champion held him off.

"There's definitely always a risk," Bottas said of his bold overtaking attempt. "The first time I tried it he was defending really hard.

"When you're on the inside you can push the other guy outside and off the track, which he did. Which I would have done also the same. That's hard racing, and when there's no gravel you can do that."

The move on Vettel was important not only for himself but also for his team mate Lewis Hamilton when it comes to the championship battle. With Vettel's subsequent tyre failure, Hamilton is now only one point adrift from the German in the standings heading to Hungary.

But the result has also brought Bottas himself firmly into play. He's only 23 points off Vettel now and very much a factor in the title race.

"It's still a long way to go. A long year ahead," he said when asked about his title chances. " So many points available. And I feel still with the team I'm getting to my best.

"I'm really looking forward to the next races. The work we've done now as a team together since the struggles we had in the beginning of the year, things are getting better and better.

"We will be strong and it will be an interesting championship."

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