Bottas ‘hunted down’ Toto Wolff after beating George Russell to start F1 season

Valtteri Bottas 'hunted down' Mercedes chief Toto Wolff after beating George Russell in qualifying to start the new Formula One season.

Bottas ended his four-year spell with Mercedes at the end of last season and now drives for Alfa Romeo, having been replaced by British driver Russell.

However, the Finn gained a small victory during qualifying for the season opener in Bahrain as he earned a sixth place starting position on the grid, ahead of Russell who started in ninth.

After qualifying, Bottas was asked whether he had spoken to Wolff yet and admitted, as per the Express: “Not yet, I don’t have my phone. I’ll go and see him!”

Bottas was also able to line up alongside his former team-mate Lewis Hamilton on the grid. with the seven-time world champion starting the race in fifth.

“We're starting side by side, it’s pretty cool," added Bottas, who finished in the top three in the Drivers' Championship during all but one of his seasons with Mercedes.

"I just saw him and we were both smiling. It should be fun. If somebody had told me in Bahrain we’re going to be starting side by side with Lewis, I’d take it.

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“But yeah, this is the beginning, the starting point for our journey. Now we need to make sure we’re looking ahead and trying to look forward rather than backwards. So it’s exciting.”

Despite Bottas qualifying ahead of Russell, it was Mercedes who would have the last laugh after Sunday's race, with the young Brit crossing the line in fourth, two places above his predecessor.

As for Hamilton, he earned a spot on the podium after finishing third behind a Ferrari one-two of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, with the pair taking advantage of a disastrous race for Red Bull.

Both defending champion Max Verstappen and team-mate Sergio Perez were forced to retire late on in Bahrain due to suspected fuel pump issues with their cars.

The 2022 season continues this coming weekend with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

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