Bottas chases ‘strong’ Oz result after 2015 injury

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Valtteri Bottas heads to the 2016 season-opening Australian Grand Prix targeting a “strong result”, which would make up for the injury that prevented the Williams driver from racing in Melbourne last year.

Bottas suffered a tear in his lower back during the 2015 qualifying session and could not sufficiently recover overnight to be given the green light to take the start Down Under.

With Williams showing promising pace in F1 pre-season testing, the Finn is confident he and his team can kick start their campaign with a good performance at one of the most popular venues of the year.

“Melbourne is a really nice city and I always really enjoy going there,” Bottas said. “The people are nice and the weather is normally very good. Because it’s the first grand prix of the year it’s a very exciting time for everyone.

“I really like the track as well, for me it’s one of the best on the whole Formula One calendar. Last year was disappointing for me, because of my back injury, but this year I am looking forward to starting the season with a strong result.

For the third consecutive year, Bottas is partnering F1 veteran Felipe Massa, who enters his 15th season in the top flight. The Brazilian has never been on the podium in Melbourne, though he equalled his best result of fourth at the Albert Park Circuit 12 months ago.

“Australia is always a nice place to start the season because it’s a fantastic country and everybody likes to go there, it is also a race where anything can happen,” Massa said. “I’m really looking forward to starting a new season, and I hope we can start well like we did last year.

“Hopefully our car is competitive straight away, that’s the most important thing. I am pretty optimistic that we can have a good first race and a good season.”

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