Valtteri Bottas has revealed how George Russell and Mercedes served as his motivation to keep pushing throughout the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Alfa Romeo driver Bottas finished on the tail of Russell - who replaced him at the Silver Arrows for 2022 - in Sunday's wet-dry race at Imola, having recovered from a delayed pit-stop earlier in the afternoon.
It brought back memories of the pair's scrap at the same venue last season, which ended in a violent, high-speed collision, but there was no drama this time out as Russell pipped a charging Bottas to fourth place.
Bottas enjoys chasing Russell and Mercedes
"I tried not to think about it!" Bottas laughed to media, including RacingNews365.com, as he referenced the incident some 12 months ago.
"But Mercedes and George, that was my motivation throughout the race, to push every lap and hopefully get a chance towards the end.
"I didn't quite get it. I lost like 10 seconds in the pit-stop, and without that, for sure it could have been a bit different."
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Bottas relieved to be in the race
Bottas added that he felt fortunate to still be in the race after getting up in a first-lap clash between McLaren's Daniel Ricciardo and Ferrari's Carlos Sainz.
"Initially, I was worried, because it was a decent hit [at the front-end], but luckily, maybe I hit [him] in the right angle," he commented.
"Suddenly, there was Sainz coming from the right sideways, [after] Ricciardo hit him. I had no time to react.
"Actually, I was surprised that I could still carry on pretty well and I didn't, in the end, lose any positions."
Bottas' latest points score adds to the sixth place he achieved in Bahrain and eighth place in Australia.
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