Bottas laments 'lack of pace' in Austria after losing P10 on final lap to Alonso
It was a difficult weekend in Austria for Alfa Romeo, culminating in Valtteri Bottas finishing in 11th, after narrowly losing out on a top-10 finish on the last lap, while Zhou Guanyu came home in P14. And speaking after the race, Bottas admitted that, while his team did everything they could to get points, they were ultimately just lacking pace.
Bottas started from the pit lane after being fitted with new Ferrari power unit components on his Alfa Romeo. And the Finn made steady progress throughout the race, making it all the way up to P10 on Lap 64.
However, on aging hard tyres, Bottas was powerless to fend off the charging Alpine of Fernando Alonso on the last lap for the final points position. And although he was disappointed to miss out on an eighth points finish of the season, Bottas believes he and the team did their best given his starting position.
“I was hoping for points today, that was the target, and it’s a bit disappointing to be finishing just outside the top 10,” said Bottas. “In the last lap, Fernando was closing the gap pretty fast with a new set of tyres, and ultimately got me.
"Besides that, I think it was a good race, also strategy-wise, and we did everything we could give where we started: we just lacked a bit of pace, especially through the corners.”
When quizzed about the race pace of his team on Sunday, Bottas hinted that his team’s lack of performance could be track-specific, believing that Paul Ricard could yield better results for Alfa Romeo.
“I feel we were lacking a bit of pace today,” said Bottas. “I definitely was hoping for better and a bit more pace and that way a bit more points, but we will try again in two weeks.
“We must keep progressing, since the other teams are doing so as well. I reckon France could be better for us, but we will need to qualify in better positions than we did here to maximise our chances come Sunday.”
Bottas’s team mate Zhou, meanwhile, was left to reflect on his poor first stint on the hard tyre, saying it “compromised” his race, with the rookie driver believing that his performances on the medium tyre later on in the race showed the performance that his Alfa Romeo was capable of.
“Obviously with the hard tyre, first time trying it this weekend, we were struggling with the pace, so a big offset compared to [the Sprint] on the medium,” said Zhou. “I was thinking maybe something was wrong, but then when we put the medium back on the final stint, and the car was working pretty strongly again.
“So, not the ideal scenario to have two sets of mediums after a set of hards, so for me I was struggling, like even having more graining on the harder compounds, so that just compromised our race.”