Valtteri Bottas says that his only aim for Sunday's Russian Grand Prix is to win, dismissing any thoughts about team orders. The Finnish driver bagged his second pole position of the season in Sochi, beating teammate Lewis Hamilton by a tenth and a half of a second.
Mercedes has dominated the weekend and never looked to be threatened by rivals Ferrari. However, Bottas is not in the championship hunt as he sits well behind Hamilton, prompting questions over whether he will be allowed to win the race on Sunday. But he says that winning is all he is thinking about right now.
"My approach to the race tomorrow is definitively to try and win the race – you cannot have any other goal starting from pole,” Bottas said. “It’s just going to be the aim. As a team we’re fighting for both championships. Lewis is leading the championship by quite a gap to Sebastian and a very big gap from me, so we have to keep those things in mind. My approach, starting the race, is trying to win, but we’ll see how it goes.”
The fastest lap secured Bottas his sixth career pole position and the former Williams driver admitted that he was left shaking after he stormed to the top spot: “It was a nice lap in the end and I also managed to improve a bit,” he said. “I don’t know what happened with Lewis’s as he aborted his lap, but it feels good I’ve still got a bit of shakes, it takes some concentration.”
Bottas hasn't won a race during the 2018 season and will be expected to play a second driver role to Lewis Hamilton in the remaining races, who leads Sebastian Vettel by 40 points in the championship.
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing