Häkkinen: Third the maximum for Bottas
28 June 2014 – Two-time F1 World Champion Mika Häkkinen reckons third was the best result fellow Finn and protege Valtteri Bottas could have achieved in Austria, opposing suggestions that Williams threw away the victory.
Having locked out the front row of the grid, Bottas and team-mate Felipe Massa controlled the opening stages of the race, only to be usurped by Mercedes duo Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton during the pit-stop phases.
But instead of pondering where the race might have been lost, Häkkinen has argued that Mercedes' package was always going to come out on top, and praised Williams for maximising its potential points haul.
"In my opinion, third was the best possible result for Valtteri," said Häkkinen in his post-race column for Hermes.
"Mercedes is still better than the others, but Williams was a very good opponent in Austria. It will be interesting to see if they are also the strongest opponent at Silverstone. I think their cars will be very well suited to the track."
Häkkinen believes that the team is benefitting from a highly competitive but respectful intra-team battle.
"It was very positive that Valtteri again beat his team-mate and it must not be forgotten that the Brazilian is not a bad driver. He came very close to [winning] the World Championship in 2008," Häkkinen went on to explain.
"It was nice to see how Massa responded to Valtteri's podium. It's really good that the two Williams drivers are supporting each other, even though they know that first, a driver always tries to beat his own team-mate."