Valtteri Bottas says that the Russian Grand Prix win on Sunday has given him confidence to finish at the top step of the podium more often.
The Finnish Formula One racer, who joined Mercedes as replacement for world champion Nico Rosberg at the beginning of 2017 season, had two wait for 82 races ever since he made his debut with Williams in 2013 to win a race. Bottas concedes that the first win has take a while, but he is now looking forward to more as he has learnt the trick.
"I never doubted my skills, but it gives me a lot of confidence, so I am only expecting better races from here. I'm just keen to prove more in the next few races," Bottas said, on Sunday, as quoted by Formula One official website.
"Now I have my first, hopefully it is the first of many in F1 now that I know how to do it â I think today I proved I can win to the team and also myself."
Bottas raced to his maiden pole position in Bahrain last month, but fell behind eventual winner Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari and teammate Lewis Hamilton to finish third in the race. However, the 27-year-old was in a league of his own at Sochi Autodrom yesterday as he leapfrogged the Ferrari duo of Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, who started from the front row of the grid.
The Finn took the initiative early in the race and overtook Vettel and Raikkonen before the second corner and maintained the lead throughout the race even after the former applied late pressure. Bottas credited his win to the work his team had put in and expects stiffer challenges from Ferrari, who are point behind leaders Mercedes with 135 points.
Notably, Bottas' win made sure driver standings' leader Vettel, who has won in Australia and Bahrain this season, only had a 13-point lead over Mercedes' Hamilton, who is sitting second with 73 points.
"It was a tough race again today with Ferrari, but we managed to stay in front. Ferrari are going to be the challenge," Bottas added.