Bottas elated with double-points finish for Alfa Romeo after 'disaster' start in Bahrain
Valtteri Bottas led a double-points finish for Alfa Romeo in the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix – and he was even more pleased with his performance given a “disaster” of a start that saw him fall from P6 to 14th on the opening lap.
The ex-Mercedes driver turned heads on Saturday by qualifying sixth, alongside former team mate Lewis Hamilton, but it soon seemed Alfa’s hopes of points had been dashed when copious amounts of wheelspin dropped the Finn well out of the top 10 on Lap 1. Pitting three times, the Finn made it up to eighth on the final Safety Car restart – picking up two extra places when the two Red Bulls retired.
“The start was definitely the weak point of the race and a bit of a disaster, just massive wheelspin off the line,” said Bottas. “I pretty much cooked the rear tyres and then I was like a sitting duck after the first lap.
“Something to learn, something to look into, but when things stabilised it was a good recovery, good strategy, and a smooth race. I think we had decent pace, which is encouraging.”
Not only did the 10-time Grand Prix winner finish in the points in his first foray for his new team, rookie team mate Zhou Guanyu took a point on his debut – and handed Alfa Romeo their first double-points haul since the 2020 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
“And I’m very happy for Zhou Guanyu in his first race; he got points, which is pretty good. Double points to start the season – not bad,” said Bottas.
“The pace is there so there’s still some things in the car we need to improve – high speed corners are a bit of a weakness – but apart from that, a good starting point,” he added, looking ahead to the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix on March 27.
As for Zhou, he was thrilled to become the 66th driver to score a point on debut in F1.
“Points is only something I would have dreamed off one year ago or two years ago. I’m proud of the team behind me, proud of my team mate – we worked so hard together to maximise the car – and a huge reward for us. It’s a day I will never forget for my whole time.”