• Belgian GP - Race

Bottas happy with podium despite Red Bull pace

ESPN Staff
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Valtteri Bottas is happy with third place at Spa even if he was surprised with the pace Red Bull showed as Daniel Ricciardo won the Belgian Grand Prix.

Over the summer break Williams targeted Spa and Monza as its best chances to win a race this year due to the team's low downforce configuration. But Williams struggled in Saturday's wet qualifying session and Bottas started sixth, before struggling to get past Sebastian Vettel at mid-distance after Red Bull's low downforce set up saw it matching Williams for pace in a straight line.

Despite being happy with his fourth podium of the season Bottas thinks the race showed Williams how big a job it needs to do to beat Mercedes and Red Bull in Italy.

"It was, again, a really nice race, nice to be in," Bottas said. "Obviously yesterday the weather played a role in the qualifying and we knew that in the dry we would have better pace than in the wet, so we were really hopeful for today. I have to say that we are little bit surprised by the pace of Red Bull and Mercedes. They were quite a bit far away.

"Of course our race was a bit compromised after the poor start. I was quite a long time stuck behind some other cars and couldn't really go at the pace we had. But yeah, had some good overtakes. We had good pitstops and good strategy by the team and that allowed us to come up a few places and again to the podium."

Bottas thinks the team might have to re-assess its chances at Monza.

"We are still chasing for the highest step but for now, for this season, if we keep like this, it's OK because it's the future that matters. I think this season it's going to be difficult. We definitely need to be lucky to achieve that. Mercedes is really strong and even on a track like this Red Bull was really, really quick, we couldn't really challenge Ricciardo, so we have still work to do but we are on the right way."

Bottas managed to get past fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen at the end of the race for third place, and he says the battle with the 2007 world champion was a highlight of his race.

"I think it was a nice and fair fight. First I nearly had a go into Turn Five but wasn't really quite as close, so then I just had to wait for a couple of laps to really prepare for it, then went for it and it was nice, clean racing with him. So, yeah, really enjoyed it."

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