RACE DEBRIEF

    Valtteri Bottas held the lowest lap count of any full-time F1 driver after three days of pre-season running in Barcelona, but brushed off the gremlins that Alfa Romeo faced as he looked forward to Bahrain.

    The former Mercedes driver stepped into the C42 in Barcelona and completed just 54 laps – less than any other driver bar Alfa Romeo reserve Robert Kubica (nine laps) – with 10 of them coming on Friday. A reliability issue and a spin cut short the team’s running.

    READ MORE: Hamilton fastest on disrupted final day of pre-season running in Barcelona

    Despite that, the Finn said: “It was a positive day, with quite a bit of running and some good indications until nearly the end of the session. I was able to run with the C3 compound, but unfortunately a spin and a small hydraulic leak meant I couldn’t try the C4 tyres.

    “It’s only testing and we can’t really compare what we are doing against the other teams, but the feeling is that we are going in the right direction. The most important thing is to work together as a team to make sure we take a step forward ahead of testing in Bahrain.”

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    Zhou suffered a pair of stoppages on Day 3 as Alfa Romeo ended their session early

    Rookie team mate Zhou Guanyu stopped twice in the morning of Day 3, before Bottas took the wheel, yet he hailed “good progress” by the team over the three days. The Chinese driver managed 112 laps over the week, meaning only Haas covered less ground than Alfa Romeo.

    “The team has made good progress with the C42, even though I wasn’t able to get all the running I would have liked,” said Zhou. “A few technical issues stopped us in the afternoon, but the data we collected during the morning session will allow us to keep working and developing the car.

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    “Our focus switches to making the most of the time between now and the Bahrain test, and maximising our mileage when we get there. I am confident we can make up the time we lost and be fully ready for the season ahead,” he concluded.

    The camouflage comes off the C42 on Sunday when the team unveil their official livery – before Alfa Romeo head to Bahrain for the Official Pre-Season Test on March 10-12.

    Rookie Zhou Guanyu unperturbed despite frustrating Friday