RACE DEBRIEF

    Zhou says he was ‘very lucky’ in 19g Zandvoort crash as Bottas rues missed ‘big opportunity’

    Valtteri Bottas felt there was much more on offer for himself and Alfa Romeo at the Dutch Grand Prix had he pitted for intermediate tyres, rather than stay out on slicks, when rain arrived on the opening lap of the race.

    While team mate Zhou Guanyu was one of several drivers to box at the end of the lap and swap his starting softs for intermediates, briefly putting him second, Bottas stayed out and ran towards the back of the pack.

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    At the end of a race filled with Virtual Safety Cars, Safety Cars and a red flag – brought out when Zhou crashed late on at the start of another shower – Bottas crossed the line in a distant 15th, which became 14th after a penalty for Kevin Magnussen.

    Put to him that he took a gamble when he stayed out on slicks as the first-lap rain arrived, Bottas said: “No, we actually didn’t take any gamble. I was hoping to come in but I got refused, so that’s something that we need to review.

    “I think we lost a big opportunity, I think I should have definitely come in immediately, even before the start, but it didn’t quite work out.

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    “I don’t know [why I was refused] yet, we haven’t done the debrief yet, so we’ll have a look. Anyway, these kind of races, lots of things are happening, but unfortunately we couldn’t really capitalise.”

    It means the Finn and the team are without a points finish in more than two months, stretching back to the Canadian Grand Prix, leaving them ninth in the constructors’ standings.

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    Bottas added: “At the moment, the pace – it felt like it was not up for the points in a normal race, so that’s why we kind of really need to do something different and try things, but it wasn’t meant to be today.”

    Zhou, meanwhile, was left to process what happened after sliding off the track and slamming into the barriers approaching Turn 1 during the aforementioned late shower.

    “I was very shocked with what happened, actually,” he commented. “The rain dropped, I think I was the second car across that heavy rain behind Yuki [Tsunoda] and aquaplaning straight away for half of the straight.

    Zhou reveals he suffered 19G impact in Lap 62 crash that took him out of the Dutch GP

    “I was a passenger since then. It was a 19g [impact with the barriers], so [I feel] very lucky obviously walking away, no big issue at the minute.”

    As for how his race had unfolded up to then, Zhou said: “I think we made a good choice to go inters [at the end of the first lap] and we had decent pace, but then the rain stopped. When we are on slicks, we know we don’t have really the pace to try to stay in the top 10.

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    “I think without the Safety Car it was possible, but then with the Safety Car I just couldn’t make any progress. In the end, that’s what happens.

    “I think in the race we had good opportunities and without what happened in the last stint I think we would gain some good positions, but we were just unlucky with what happened at Turn 1 – the spray was just way too much.”