RACE DEBRIEF

    Valtteri Bottas expressed his satisfaction after a determined drive to P9 at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix put Alfa Romeo five points ahead of Aston Martin in the battle for sixth position in the constructors’ standings.

    Bottas displayed strong pace as he rose from 14th on the grid to fifth position over the course of Sunday’s encounter, only for a late Safety Car to leave him exposed on older tyres and open the door for a handful of rivals.

    Nonetheless, the Finn held on to claim ninth and bag two valuable points, giving his team a solid numerical advantage over Aston Martin – who took P10 with Lance Stroll – ahead of this weekend’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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    Reflecting on his afternoon at the wheel, Bottas said: “It was good – a good race, good battles. I really enjoyed it! Obviously, it’s always more enjoyable when you have the pace. Starting 14th and ending up ninth is good.

    “We’re happy, because we again scored more than Aston. For us, it’s really important [to secure P6 in the standings]. At least the last two events we’ve been a bit stronger again, so that’s good to see. One more to go and we need to seal it in Abu Dhabi.”

    ‘A difficult race with issues everywhere’ says Zhou after P12 in Brazil

    Zhou Guanyu had to settle for 12th position in the other C42 as he rued a host of problems ranging from helmet trouble to a faulty turbo, while also noting that he pitted eight laps earlier than team mate Bottas – only adding to the challenge at the final Safety Car restart.

    “On my part, it was quite difficult, because firstly I got something stuck in my helmet, so it was kind of getting annoying, the drinks pipe... I had to remove that,” said Zhou, who was making his first outing at Interlagos, with the Sprint format thrown in for good measure.

    “We were lacking… [we had] turbo issues on the exit of the corners, so we suffered a lot, especially on the [Safety Car] restarts – we have to investigate why.

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    “It’s good to see that the team recovered for the championship. Also for me, after the first part of the race [when I was] suffering, trying to push other teams to pit earlier, for having a better result for my team mate, but overall it’s working well.”

    Bottas holds 10th in the drivers’ standings on 49 points after back-to-back top 10 finishes, with Zhou 18th, having scored six points across his rookie campaign to date.