Zhou says consecutive DNFs are 'hurting' his rookie season but Bottas buoyed by strong Spanish GP showing
Zhou Guanyu suffered a second consecutive retirement as his Alfa Romeo cut out after 28 laps and the rookie driver couldn’t hide his disappointment – while Valtteri Bottas said his team’s performance progress could bode very well for the next race…
Zhou suffered a power unit-related issue and his race ended one lap after Charles Leclerc’s did. In the high temperatures, he explained what he thought happened and how it felt to end another race without seeing the chequered flag.
“All I got informed was that I had to stop the car, cool the car and yes, I think there is some issue. Probably not the same as Miami, but… really unfortunate and quite disappointing, just because it’s been two races that we were fighting for the points with the guys around [us], but we couldn’t get it to the finish line.
“We really need to be focused on getting everything right, make sure that we can at least finish off the race and to improve from now.
“It’s hurting, of course, my experience, but also it felt like all the times where we couldn’t finish the race, we were there together fighting with the guys that are all in the midfield battle. It will be amazing to be involved in all those things, but it’s quite frustrating just being two races [with a] similar issue. Obviously it’s a different issue, but a similar problem – because I didn’t finish.”
Head of Trackside Engineering Xevi Pujolar added: “We know it is something related to the cooling system, and we had to retire the car to avoid damaging the power unit, but we haven’t got the root cause yet.
“Zhou, he is in his first year in Formula 1, he is fighting people with more experience, and he is overtaking. So, it means we have a package that is working, and two drivers that are performing very well.”
Despite running in P4 for more than 25 laps, Bottas couldn’t keep up with the Mercedes and Ferrari ahead of him, the Finnish driver instead falling to P6 as his two-stop strategy gamble didn’t pay off and he was passed by both Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz in the late stages.
“I think at some points of the race the pace was really strong. I think we took a bit of a risk with the strategy. I think the last stint just became a bit too long. So, really struggled quite a bit towards the end, but we tried.”
Pleased with the Alfa Romeo’s pace, Bottas looked ahead to Monaco.
“Yes, it’s nice that we can battle with the big teams at times. And it’s good and we seem to have a pretty good gap to the cars behind. So yes, we’ve made pretty good progress and that’s thanks to the upgrade. Also, this type of track is not a strength of ours so it could be better next week.”
Constructors' standings after Spain
|1 Red Bull Racing||195|
|5 Alfa Romeo||39|