‘It was my mistake’ admits Bottas as he rues spinning out of US GP on a day 'points were possible'
Alfa Romeo brought some long-awaited car upgrades to Austin and after a strong performance in qualifying looked in good shape to score points for the first time since Monza. But their race unravelled from the word go, contact on the first lap costing Valtteri Bottas positions before the Finn spun off into the gravel, beaching his car and ending his afternoon on Lap 16.
It was a frustrating finish for Bottas, who had qualified in the top 10 and then started seventh thanks to grid penalties to others. With the upgrade package seemingly working well and Alfa locked in a tight fight with Aston Martin in the constructors’ championship, points were sorely needed and Bottas was swift to acknowledge his error.
“Yeah, it was my mistake; I lost the back end of the car, but there was also a gust of wind at the same time, which the engineers confirmed – but it’s disappointing,” he said afterwards.
“We were looking really strong for points, so it’s disappointing to finish my race early. I passed Albon, settled into a rhythm, but when I was trying to close the gap to Gasly to get into DRS range made a mistake in Turn 19 and lost the rear end.
“It was very unfortunate, as our pace was promising, and a points finish could’ve definitely been possible today. I’m looking forward to turning the tide next week in Mexico and bringing home some points.”
As for his team mate, Zhou Guanyu’s weekend was already compromised by a hydraulics issue in final practice that left him short of running. He then lost out on a place in Q3 on Saturday after seeing his best lap time deleted for track limits infringements – and didn’t get any luckier on Sunday either, with the timing of the Safety Car meaning his rivals had much fresher tyres towards the end of the race.
“With the Safety Car window, it was really difficult for us to hold the same position. We tried to stay out and hoped for the best but unfortunately there wasn’t a Safety Car at the end so the guys behind had a pretty good window. So, with a lot trye advantage [they were] pretty impossible to hold up,” he said afterwards, although he was keen to see some positives from a tricky weekend.
“Let’s say we definitely looked quicker in quali and the race… Upgrades are definitely working, especially for one lap pace we seem to be very strong and then in the race we have to have a look, but this weekend was a difficult one with missing some sessions, not much running, new to here so lots of things to learn from and focus on next week. But definitely, we are looking stronger from the previous few events.”
Alfa Romeo are sixth in the standings heading into Mexico, just one point ahead Aston Martin.