Valtteri Bottas says he was expecting a collision with Max Verstappen after bravely hanging onto second place on the outside of the Red Bull at the first turn of the Monaco Grand Prix. Although Verstappen got the better launch, Bottas kept his foot in it executed a brilliant defence.
The Finn's starts have not been excellent in 2019, costing him victories from pole position in China and Barcelona.
Starting from second in Monte Carlo, he almost gave up the place to Verstappen, before he was eventually bumped down the order after making contact with the Dutchman in the pit-lane, perhaps realising Bottas' fears – albeit later than he had anticipated.
Bottas said: "For me, I think the start was OK. It felt like a normal start.
"Max had a really good one, he was in the inside then for Turn One – but I knew if I stay outside, carry the speed, should be OK.
"There was a small moment at mid-corner where I was kind of expecting him to hit me from the inside but he didn't, so I was happy and I got a good exit and, job done."
Verstappen jumped Bottas in the pits, but he was released from the pit-box as the Finn approached, forcing him to take evasive action towards the wall, which caused a puncture.
The Dutchman was given a five-second time penalty, which ultimately dropped him from second on the road to fourth, and Bottas had no qualms with the punishment, despite still losing a place come the chequered flag.
He said: "It's a tricky one because there would be no way I could ever gain back the position.
"So I lost, except I gained, at least, Max's position with his penalty. But, for example, the position I lost to Sebastian, there's no way I ever gain it back.
"So I think he got his penalty and I think it's OK. Not much to say more than that."
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