SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Valtteri Bottas addressed his critics with another of his ‘to whom it may concern’ messages after winning Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix.
It was no more fit to print than the one the Finn made after winning in Australia last year, but the gist of it was again that they could all get lost.
Bottas has struggled to match Mercedes team mate and six times world champion Lewis Hamilton, who had won six of nine races before Sochi and built up a 55 point lead.
Some of those yearning for a closer championship blame Bottas, who had not won since the Austrian season-opener in July, for not being closer.
“It’s not been playing on my mind but I just don’t get the people who have the need to criticise people,” he told reporters.
“You know, there’s been people telling me that I should not bother, I should give up. But how I am, I will never do that so I just wanted to, again, send my best wishes to them.
“It just came out, you know, so, yeah. But the main thing is I’m confident, when I come to every race weekend, I’m confident and I believe I can do it and that’s how I’m always going to be,” added the Finn.
Bottas also set the fastest lap on Sunday, cutting Hamilton’s lead to 44 points after the Briton, who started on pole, was handed two time penalties and finished a distant third.
The Finn said Saturday had been tough, when he qualified third, but he never gave up.
“I looked at it positively, I knew there would be opportunities and things came to me today, so yeah, I hope I can encourage people not to give up because that’s the biggest mistake you can do in your life,” he said.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Toby Davis
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