Bottas commends Alfa Romeo performance after P8 finish in Melbourne
After a DNF in Jeddah cost him a top-10 finish, Valtteri Bottas was happy to leave Melbourne with a good haul of points as he commended the work done by his Alfa Romeo team over the weekend.
Despite an “unlucky” Safety Car, and a battle with Lance Stroll that saw the Aston Martin driver penalised for weaving on the straight – while the Canadian also pushed Bottas wide at Turn 3 at one point – the Finn finished in P8 after passing Pierre Gasly in the closing laps. And while Bottas was happy with the points, he felt a higher finish could have been on the cards.
“Overall, I think it was a good race, good strategy. A bit unlucky with the Safety Car because we stopped before it but other than that it was okay,” said Bottas.
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“It was a good performance with close racing and battles from beginning to end. Of course, the most important thing is that we brought home some points, and that is due to a good job done by everyone in the team; I am happy with the calls that were made and how we raced.”
Speaking of the incidents with Stroll, meanwhile, Bottas said: “The weaving just made it really hard for me to decide where to go and it was a bit on the limit, I guess, and that pass obviously forced me to go off the track, so I don’t think that’s how you should race.
"But yeah, I still managed to get through and I think that cost me a bit of time for sure. Maybe Esteban [Ocon, in P7] could have been otherwise reachable but still four points is not bad.”
Bottas qualified in 12th – the first time he’d failed to make it into Q3 in 103 races. However, the Finn ultimately praised the set-up decision that led to that Q2 exit, as he looked ahead to the next few races.
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“The thinner wing that penalised us yesterday turned out to be the right choice and helped us make progress,” said Bottas.
“I had a fun day even though I had to work hard, pushing all the race; now hopefully we can continue to be strong and improve. We have upgrades coming in the next few rounds so we can continue fighting for points in every race.”
Bottas’s team mate Zhou Guanyu finished in P11, narrowly outside the points – and while the rookie was disappointed with the result, he believes Alfa Romeo’s positive performances put them in a good place for the next few rounds.
“I think from my side, the race pace was very good for me, we see a good progression from the weekend, and I was happy with that,” said Zhou. “A bit unfortunate with the pit stop, we lost too much ground and track position is key here – and that’s what we are missing.
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“But I think where we are now puts us in a much better position on the tracks I know better in the European races.”