Bottas celebrates first F1 podium finish

Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:44pm EDT
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By Michael Shields

SPIELBERG Austria (Reuters) - Valtteri Bottas gave Finland another presence on the Formula One podium on Sunday when the Williams driver celebrated his first top three finish at the Austrian Grand Prix.

"Really, really happy. Difficult to put into words really. Just really thankful to the team for giving me this car," the third placed 24-year-old declared.

"It’s been a long way for us since last year and many, many years at Williams and now it’s so much better. The race was exactly what we needed at this point – clean, nice, everything went like planned really."

Bottas, the latest in a line of top Finnish drivers that includes former world champions Keke Rosberg, Mika Hakkinen and Kimi Raikkonen, made his debut with Williams last year after a stint as reserve.

It turned out to be a miserable season for the former champions, who scored just five points in total and finished ninth overall - a long way from the 1980s and 1990s when they won nine constructors' titles and seven drivers' championships.

This season, with a switch from Renault to Mercedes power and technical head Pat Symonds coming on board, they have been a team transformed and are now fifth with 85 points and within reach of Force India and Ferrari.

They are still off the pace of dominant Mercedes but started Sunday's race with Brazilian Felipe Massa on pole and Bottas alongside.

The Finn followed up his best-ever qualifying with a best-ever result while Massa dropped to fourth.   Continued...

Third placed Williams Formula One driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland elebrates after the Austrian F1 Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring circuit in Spielberg June 22, 2014. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo