Bottas says Singapore ‘really wasn’t our day’ as Alfa Romeo gambles failed to pay off
In a race where both Haas and AlphaTauri managed to score points, not getting a car home in the top 10 was chastening for Alfa Romeo, who are now two points off Haas in the fight for eighth in the constructors’ championship.
It was a night where nothing quite went right for the team, who took gambles with both cars but saw Valtteri Bottas fail to finish and Zhou Guanyu come home 12th. They started the Finn on the hard tyres in the hopes of a late Safety Car, while Zhou started on the unfavoured softs and immediately switched to the hards in the hopes of getting as close to the end as possible on that set.
But when the Safety Car did come out thanks to Logan Sargeant’s crash, it was too early to pit either driver, which compromised both their strategies and put them at a disadvantage compared to most of the field.
“We knew we had to take some gambles today, taking into consideration our starting position and the pace we expected to have,” said Bottas.
“The timing of the Safety Car didn’t really work for us – it was too early – and we couldn’t stop to switch to mediums at that stage, hoping to get them to the end of the race.
“We weren’t making much progress and, eventually, our race came to an end with a technical issue: we had to stop the car as a precaution, and we’ll need to understand what happened. Today really wasn’t our day, but at least we learned a lot about our upgrades: we expect them to help us more in Suzuka.”
Zhou did make it to the finish in 12th, behind the Williams of Alex Albon after an epic stint on the medium tyres – which he’d been forced to switch to under the Safety Car.
“We knew we had to try an aggressive strategy to make up ground," he said. "The gamble almost worked, the SC did come, but unfortunately too early: its timing was perfect for those starting on mediums and it shuffled us to the back.
“At the final VSC, we committed not to stop for softs again, throwing the dice hoping for some other neutralization, but nothing happened and, in the end, we lost places to those on fresh tyres.”
The positives were there though, with Bottas saying he had collected plenty of useful data on the team’s latest upgrades which included a new floor, and Zhou believes will see the team be more competitive at the coming races.
They won't have long to find out if that is true, with the Japanese Grand Prix following hot on the heels of Singapore next weekend.