Bottas frustrated to miss out on points but taking positives from P11 finish at Singapore GP
Valtteri Bottas narrowly missed out on a first top-10 finish since Montreal after coming home in 11th at the Singapore Grand Prix. But despite points eluding him again, the Finn insisted there were positives for Alfa Romeo to take from the weekend.
Bottas lost a place at the start of the race, dropping from P15 on the grid to 16th but made gradual progress throughout his first stint, capitalising on other drivers' errors and retirements to go up to 13th.
He then made the bold call to switch to the soft tyre for the final stint as he looked to make it into the top 10, but it was to no avail as the charging Max Verstappen overtook him, and he was unable to make it past Pierre Gasly in the closing stages. While disappointed with the outcome, Bottas said he was proud of his team for their aggressive strategy call.
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“It’s always frustrating when you are one position from the points but in the end from where we started there wasn’t that much more to get,” said Bottas. “At least we managed to avoid the mistakes and stay on track, but it’s a shame.
“Towards the end, the soft tyres were starting to drop, and I couldn’t close in on [Pierre] Gasly, but I think it was a good call to try going with them in the second stint today; I don’t think any other compound would have given us a better result.”
Alfa Romeo started the season in fine form but have struggled of late, having taken only one top-10 finish since the Canadian Grand Prix in June – with Zhou Guanyu finishing 10th at Monza. But Bottas believed the performance at Marina Bay and the impending upgrades being brought to Japan should give Alfa Romeo reason to be optimistic.
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“The pace definitely on Friday was better,” said Bottas. “We have some new bits coming for Japan; I still feel like our car is working a bit better in drier conditions so let's hope it's drier in Japan."
Alfa Romeo Team Principal Fred Vassuer admitted it was not an easy weekend for his team in Singapore, but praised Bottas's efforts, believing it was the maximum they could have hoped for on Sunday.
“It has been a difficult weekend despite the good pace we showed on Friday,” he said. “Valtteri probably got as much out of the race as possible, and it was only a fast-charging Verstappen who kept him out of the points in the end. We tried giving him a fighting chance with the soft tyres, but in the end that was not enough to finish in the top 10.
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“We move on to Suzuka now, knowing our pace in the dry was okay and that we will be introducing some updates that should give us a boost in performance. We keep fighting to preserve P6 in the championship.”
Alfa Romeo go to Suzuka sixth in the constructors' standings, with a 15-point lead over Aston Martin in seventh.