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Sunday images from the 2019 Australian Grand Prix


Mar 172019

"To whom it may concern; f*** you!”, shouted Bottas into his helmet mic as he took the chequered flag at Albert Park. It was for good reason too. The usually softly-spoken and mild-mannered Valtteri Bottas had something to get off his chest after his victory in the Australian Grand Prix, the opening race to the Formula One season.

It was passionate. Somewhat unusual and out of character, perhaps. Or Perhaps not. For this is not the old Valtteri Bottas. This is Valtteri Bottas, version number 2019, and he means business.

For background; when the F1 season usually finishes in December, drivers spend the winter with their families before steadily upping their training programme to be ready and fit in time for the pre-season tests in Barcelona in mid-February.

It's a standard procedure and there is a seemingly endless stream of Instagram images of gym sessions and cycle rides around the hills of Monte Carlo. But there was a notable difference to Valtteri's winter break as the frustration of a winless 2018 burned deep within the Finn.

After letting off steam with some friends in Helsinki, and a trip to Chile, Valtteri competed in a winter rally. It all looked rather spectacular but as he quickly got up to speed with power-slides through the snow, beneath his visor there was the germination of the focus that he hoped would reinvigorate his F1 career.

The sharpness and competitive nature returned and with it too the hunger for success, having been starved since he last reached the top step of the podium at the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. A new hobby of photography too, helped focus his mind on what he wanted to achieve in 2019.


He spelled it out clearly at the start of the year. He was out to beat everyone else. He wants to win the Formula One World Drivers' Championship.


Bold words, bravado or baseless claims? We would get to see in Melbourne that neither was right, for this was a standout performance, arguably the race of his life. A good start, a perfectly executed race to cross the line ahead of his Silver Arrows teammate, Lewis Hamilton, who admittedly had a damaged floor, which somewhat limited his performance.


Not content with the win, Valtteri showed that he is out to make a point this season, by telling his Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport Team that he wanted to set the fastest lap too, earning a point in the process as part of this season's new rules. It was bold, given a flying lap late on in the race and on old tyres increased the chance of a mistake; not that the scenario entered Valtteri's mind as he completed his objective with aplomb.


“This feels so good - I don't think I've ever had a race like this!” Said Bottas. “We could not have asked for a better start to the season - getting maximum points for the team is a perfect result and we couldn't be happier. It's also an important result for me personally, I'm really pleased with how the race went. These things don't just happen - both the team and I have worked hard for this and it seems like the hard work paid off today”


With 26 points in the bag, he now sits top of the table, albeit after only one race win.


But it is still one race win more than he achieved last season and you get the feeling there are going to be plenty more…