'It's not good' says Bottas after DNF costs him and Alfa Romeo points in Saudi Arabia
Valtteri Bottas looked sure to collect points for Alfa Romeo once again, until being called into the pits with an engine issue on Lap 36 in Saudi Arabia – but he was buoyed by the C42's pace.
Bottas has made a fine start to the season his new team Alfa Romeo after finishing in P6 at the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, and was running ninth in Jeddah when a coolant issue forced him to retire from the race – and while he was disappointed, he was also encouraged by the team’s performance.
“Now we know the finishing rate is 50% of the season, so it’s not good, we need to work on that. Otherwise, we have a strong car. It felt good on this track, which gives me hope for the next race,” he said.
“I think we were looking at finishing around sixth. We had an issue with the engine temperature, it kept rising so we had to stop the race, because the engine temperature kept climbing and there was nothing we could do, and we did not want to lose the engine.
“Looking at the positives, the car is really good. We made another step forward from the previous race, even in the starts. We were doing a good job and enjoying some close battles, now let’s make sure we get back to scoring in Australia.”
The result left Team Principal Frederic Vasseur lamenting a loss of points as Zhou Guanyu just missed out on the top 10 on Sunday having copped a five-second stop-and-go penalty for passing off-track, then a drive-through penalty later on for not serving the former penalty correctly.
“It’s a disappointing end to an evening in which we showed so much pace,” said Vasseur. “We were on course to have two cars in the points again, but luck was not on our side tonight and we leave with nothing.
“Valtteri was stopped by a cooling issue when he was fighting for P6, while Zhou, would have been in the top 10 if not for the drive-through penalty he was given. It hurts, but this is racing, sometimes, and all we have to do is pull ourselves up and make sure we keep delivering tonight’s speed at the next races.”
The Australian Grand Prix follows on April 08-10, Albert Park returning for the first time since 2019 – with Bottas the last F1 driver to have won the event...