Bottas blames himself for ‘really costly mistake’ that ruled him out of FP2 running in Miami


On a day when track learning was set to be crucial, Valtteri Bottas completed just 13 laps of the all-new Miami International Autodrome circuit after a Free Practice 1 shunt saw him sidelined for the rest of Friday.

Bottas was rounding Turn 7 – a tricky corner that caught out a number of drivers across the day – when he lost the back end of his Alfa Romeo C42 and hit the wall, bringing out the first of three red flags on Friday.

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But despite the best efforts of his Alfa Romeo mechanics, the Finn was forced to spend FP2 watching on from the garage in his civvies, the damage to the car too extensive to get Bottas out for second practice, which features the all-important qualifying simulation runs.

“A really costly mistake from my side – it’s annoying,” said Bottas at the end of Friday. “The best we can do is try and maximise the practice tomorrow. But the damage was unfortunate, in that with the rear impact, it damaged the exhaust and also the turbo of the engine, so that’s why it was impossible to get everything ready for FP2. So, unlucky.”

Valtteri Bottas accepts he has 'catching up to do' after FP1 crash

Asked how he’d enjoyed the track during his 13 laps, meanwhile, Bottas replied: “The track is good, it’s challenging. There’s the twisty section around the back that’s probably the most difficult part to get right, and the track evolution was huge today, so I have some catching up to do tomorrow.”

Team mate Zhou Guanyu at least proved the potency of the Alfa Romeo package on Friday, putting his car P8 in FP2, 0.001s ahead of the Alpine of Esteban Ocon – with Zhou pleased to have hit the ground running in Miami.

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“I learned how to drift in P1 because it was really slippery out there!” he joked. “It was very tough for all the guys around.

“P2 was a big improvement, and also for us as a team, we found the right way and the solution for the set-up, so we seem to be reasonably quick this weekend. It’s a good sign, and so far, I’m quite enjoying driving this track.”

Bottas will now look to make up for lost time in FP3, ahead of what could be a crucial qualifying at the Miami International Autodrome.

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