Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Bottas: Strong Alfa Romeo F1 form is “best case scenario”

Valtteri Bottas says the strong early form of his Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team in 2022 represents “the best case scenario” in terms of what he expected going into the season.

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C42

After losing his Mercedes drive to George Russell, Bottas had a choice between Alfa Romeo and Williams for this year, and he eventually opted for the Swiss-based team.

In Bahrain he qualified and finished sixth, and then in Saudi Arabia last weekend he qualified eighth and was ahead of eventual sixth place finisher Esteban Ocon when he retired with an engine temperature issue.

In the first race the Finn started alongside former Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton, while in the second he qualified eight places ahead of the seven-time world champion, and just 0.079s behind Russell.

“I think this was kind of the best case scenario for our first season together that I could ever imagine with the information I had,” said Bottas when asked by Autosport if the team’s form had exceeded expectations.

“So yeah, definitely I’m really happy with the decision I made, and I’m happy overall as well, so yeah, enjoying it.

“If we can keep improving the car there’s no doubt we should be still able in future to always fight for Q3 and top 10 places, so that is good to see.”

Bottas said the team can aim to take on Mercedes and lead the chase of Red Bull and Ferrari in the fight for the third-best team on the grid.

"I think that needs to be the target now," he said. "We seem to be more or less in the same place as in Bahrain, even though I thought this could be maybe more difficult.

“I think aiming to be the best of the rest is a good motivation, and good targets. Hopefully, we eventually can fight for fifth position in the race. That would be a big step for us."

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C42

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo C42

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

In Jeddah Bottas was called into the pits when his Ferrari engine’s temperature began to rise but when there was no improvement after the mechanics cleaned out the radiator ducts he was told to come back in and retire.

"The engine temperature started to go up, first a little bit, but then rapidly, and nothing could stop it growing,” said Bottas. “So possibly a leak or something. In the end we had to stop the car to not destroy the engine.

"I think we had a good race until then. I was battling with Fernando [Alonso], he also retired in the end. So I think I was fighting for P6. The car felt OK, the pace was good. And if anything maybe we had a bit of an upper hand to Alpine. So not bad."

Team boss Fred Vasseur said it was frustrating that a strong weekend for Bottas had ended in retirement.

"We had an issue with the temperature on the car, from one lap to the other," the Frenchman told Autosport.

"We asked him to pit at one stage, and we changed the tyres and clean up the air ducts. But after one lap it happened again, so we stopped the car to avoid damaging the engine.

"We are still investigating what happened. It's a real shame, because the pace was there, he did well, he was prudent, he didn't take any risks, and he was quite comfortable."

Read Also:

Despite the disappointment Vasseur noted that 2022 is a “different world” compared to last season, when Alfa was invariably near the back of the grid.

"We were less than a tenth off P5 in quali. It's quite encouraging for the team, because after Bahrain on a different track we showed that the pace is there, and that we can be there on every single track, and this is good for us. But then it's a shame to not score big points in this situation.

"I think that for sure we are a bit disappointed because we are leaving with zero, but on the other hand one year ago, we were nowhere, we were out in Q1. But now it's a different world."

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation

Related video

Previous article Wolff: No finger-pointing over Mercedes F1 car or engine struggles
Next article Top 10 American F1 drivers ranked: Andretti, Hill, Gurney and more

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe