Porridge powers Valtteri Bottas to Australian Grand Prix victory

Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton of Britain, right, and Valtteri Bottas of Finland
Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton of Britain, right, and Valtteri Bottas of Finland
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Porridge-powered Valtteri Bottas hailed his “best race ever” after leading Mercedes to a one-two in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

The Finn was out-qualified by Lewis Hamilton in Melbourne but was quicker into turn one and rounded off a stellar weekend by taking the bonus point for fastest lap.

And after taking the chequered flag, he served up a four-letter riposte to those who had criticised him in the past.

“To whom it may concern, f*** you,” the 29-year-old said.

When asked who the message was addressed to, Bottas said: “I think it would be quite a long list. I just wanted to send my best regards.

“There are people around me supporting me. In sport, there’s always ups and downs and you can really see the true support... through the difficult times, you can see the other part which a lot more negative. That’s their weakness.”

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen pushed the five-time world champion hard for the second step on the podium, while Ferrari were left to regroup after Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc finished fourth and fifth, nearly a minute back.

When asked “What did you have for breakfast?” after taking his first win since 2017, Bottas replied: “I had some porridge.”

He added: “Obviously, the key thing for me was the race start, to get to the lead and then being at the front I could show strong pace and I could pull a gap. Just the car was feeling so good today, it was truly enjoyable.

“For us as a team, we have such a strong package going forwards and then, for myself, after quite a tricky last year, to have started the season like this.”

Hamilton said: “It (losing first place into the first corner) doesn’t really matter, Valtteri got a better start.

“Once we got to the first corner, we held position, we had the front row still.

“And Valtteri did an exceptional job throughout the race, so congratulations to him and after that it was just about bringing the car home and we did that.”