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Q&A: Valtteri – “That was definitely worth the wait!”

Q&A: Valtteri – “That was definitely worth the wait!”

Valtteri claims his first Formula 1 victory

It feels so amazing

Valtteri, tell us, what does your maiden Grand Prix victory feel like?

VB: Amazing. It took quite a while, more than 80 races for me. But definitely worth the wait, worth the learning curve. This strange opportunity came to me in the winter to join this team and they made it possible today, so I really want to thank the team. Without them it wouldn't be possible. It feels so amazing. We've had a tricky beginning of the year and the fight with Ferrari was again very close. We managed to be on top today but we need to keep pushing, we need to keep finishing with both cars all the time one and two – that's the plan. But for the moment I'm just very, very happy.

Let's talk about your fantastic start...

VB: I think starting from the second row is not too bad here. I had a good start, if anything maybe slightly better than the guys in front. Slipstreaming I managed to get the inside for Turn 1. That was OK – but I'm a little bit more happy about the Safety Car restart, actually.

Of course, the restart was even better than your start! Talk us through that?

VB: The restart was very good and kind of a surprise actually by the gap but that was good. Obviously it worked. You have few opportunities where you start going. I think the main thing is not to catch the safety car before the safety car line but that obviously worked, so that was good.

Valtteri took his maiden Formula One victory today after jumping the two Ferraris off the start

I did ask for a bit more radio silence

How was the pressure towards the end of the race when you had Sebastian gaining on you and you were hitting traffic?

VB: Yeah, the back markers, getting through the traffic, that was the main worry for me – especially at the end of the race. Already, when you're within two, three seconds, you start to lose some lap time, especially in the mid-sector in those medium speed corners. So that was quite tricky and I wasn't quite happy at times. But I always knew that Seb and Kimi behind would have the same problem as I had so in the end it was OK. I also had one lock-up, maybe 10 or 15 laps to go, which hurt a little bit the pace. Other than that it was OK. I did ask for a bit more radio silence from the guys on the pit wall, just for me to get on it and focus for it and feel a bit more like home. Quite nice and quiet and that helped.

Somebody had a theory about your win – that you won because you were so angry with all of these questions about what it's like to be number two in the team and so on. What do you think about that?

VB: I don't think that was the reason for the success this weekend! Good theory but I don't think it's right. It really doesn't matter in the car if you're angry or not – you are doing your best anyway. When I drive there is not much emotion in there. I'm just trying to get everything right and get every lap, every corner perfectly. All the questions, all the speculation, number two driver and so on… it doesn't get to me. It doesn't matter.

You don't have a crystal ball – but next race most of the teams will present very different cars and these changes will have been conceived using all the knowledge gained in the first four races of the season with these new regulations. What do you predict for the next phase of the season?

VB: I think it's just going to get quicker. Every car is going to get a lot better through the season. Always when there's a big rule change the progress is bigger, the steps are getting bigger, with more lap time gained during the year. I think it's going to be the same for each team and I think the top teams with more resources can obviously improve more. Hopefully we can improve more but I don't think there will be anything dramatic. Just the cars are going to be quicker – more downforce really and better tyre understanding on all of the compounds.

Valtteri edged out Sebastian Vettel in a nailbitting, race-long battle

It was definitely one of my best races

You have a lot to live up to because Kimi Räikkönen, Keke Rosberg and of course Mika Häkkinen, all are World Champions from Finland. Are you going to be the next Finnish World Champion?

VB: For me that's the only goal in my career, so I will keep pushing for that.

Has the reality of what you've just achieved already sunk in?

VB: No. It's going to take a while. I have to say, normally I'm not that emotional. But hearing the Finnish national anthem is something quite special for me. It felt good. It is a little bit surreal – my first win and hopefully the first of many. It was definitely one of my best races, personally, ever. It's a good feeling and just, yeah, very happy.

How much confidence do you think this victory will give you going forward?

VB: I think a lot. I've always known I could do good results if everything goes right. I had always trusted in my ability. But it's nice to get confirmation that the results are possible, that anything is possible, so definitely good to continue from here.

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