Bottas hopes Miami ‘an outlier’ for Kick Sauber as Zhou laments ‘real struggle’ all weekend


Kick Sauber drivers Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu were left to rue challenging weekends at the Miami Grand Prix as their quest to score a first point of the season rumbled on.

With the Sprint format in play, Bottas and Zhou both suffered successive SQ1 and Q1 exits around the Miami International Autodrome – the Chinese racer slowest of all during qualifying for the Grand Prix.

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In the Grand Prix itself, the pair were unable to make an impression on the points-paying positions, with Bottas taking a risk by starting on softs and Zhou by finishing on them following a mid-race Safety Car.

Reflecting on setting off and finishing in 16th, Bottas said: “Of course, the starting position wasn’t the best, so I think it was good to try something different. Then, honestly, with that strategy, the timing of the Safety Car was the worst possible.

Bottas: ‘With our strategy the timing of the Safety Car was the worst possible’

“It’s unfortunate… I think it was good to try but ultimately we didn’t quite have the pace today that I thought we would, so plenty of learnings to take from this weekend.”

He added: “I hope this was an outlier. In the last two events we’ve been in a better place. Again, the next race [at Imola] is a very different track, so with some new bits on the car then we’ll see again. But it is tight, you know, and small gains can make a big difference.”

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Zhou shared similar thoughts to Bottas as he rose from 19th to 14th, expressing particular frustration at losing a chunk of time to the cars ahead while getting stuck behind Alex Albon’s Williams.

“It was actually not too bad for us [with the Safety Car], but the only thing is that we went for softs, so we had almost 30 laps on softs and they fall off,” he commented.

Zhou explains what ‘compromised his whole race’ after coming home P14 in Miami

“I think the issue was that we lacked some top speed against Alex and I couldn’t really pass him on the straights, so the whole race was really compromised.”

Asked if he also felt the event was an ‘outlier’ for the team, Zhou said: “It’s very clear this weekend both cars it’s been a real struggle. We tried to play a lot with different set-ups during Friday and Saturday but both didn’t seem to work.

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“On the other side, I think a lot of the competitors brought upgrades for the last few races and we still have similar to what we had a few races ago. I’m sure in Imola we can make a step and it’s a question of how much.”

As touched on, Kick Sauber are one of only two teams, along with Williams, yet to score a point this season, with Alpine getting off the mark in Miami thanks to Esteban Ocon’s run to 10th position in the Grand Prix.



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