Bottas labels Mercedes title 'so impressive' after ending his win drought
Valtteri Bottas spoke of his pride at being part of Mercedes after the team won a sixth consecutive constructors' championship at a Japanese Grand Prix where the Finn came out on top.
Mercedes have matched Ferrari's Formula One record from Michael Schumacher's era in 1999-2004 by winning six straight team titles.
They are now also guaranteed to win six consecutive driver and constructor double championships, which has never been done before.
Bottas won his first race in 13 attempts at Suzuka on Sunday, with Sebastian Vettel and team-mate Lewis Hamilton completing the podium positions.
"I'm really proud to be part of the team," Bottas said after his victory.
"A sixth title in a row is so impressive and I'm proud of every single team member here at the race and the factory, so well done guys and girls."
Bottas had won two of the first four races of 2019 in Australia and Azerbaijan but had struggled to match the pace of Hamilton since the April triumph in Baku.
But in a weekend disrupted by Typhoon Hagibis, he was the quickest driver in Friday's practice and, after Ferrari had secured a surprise front-row lock-out in the re-arranged qualifying hours before the race, Bottas surged from third on the grid to lead into the first corner.
"I'm happy, very happy," added Bottas, who capitalised on a slow start from pole-sitter Vettel.
"Obviously it was a pretty close qualifying and starting third here is never easy here but you never give up and anything is possible - opportunities were there.
"I had a really nice start and obviously Sebastian had an issue so I managed to get the lead and then the pace was super good. I could really control the race. I really enjoyed it and had fun.
"We knew that one- or two-stop strategies were both possible and there's not a massive difference between it. We knew either could be a scenario. Everything went smoothly. I could control it and push where I wanted."
Hamilton, who claimed the fastest lap, saw his lead in the drivers' championship reduced to 64 points.
He had repeatedly voiced frustration with Mercedes' strategy in the race which left him well adrift of Bottas and Vettel after the first round of pit stops.
"Firstly it's congratulations to the team, so well deserved to win it six times in a row," he said in a frosty post-race interview in parc ferme that was soon brought to an abrupt close.
"That’s the main point. I really just wanted to get the best points for the team.
"[Winning the constructors' title] makes no difference [with the drivers' title] because we've been racing freely all year. For sure [it will be a hard fight with Bottas]."