Formula 1

Valtteri Bottas: “Everyone did a good job and we are going in the right direction”

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Credit: Florent Gooden / DPPI

Valtteri Bottas was pleased he was able to recover to score points in Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix after a poor start left him floundering outside the top ten.

The Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN driver had started seventh on the grid after a strong performance in Qualifying, but he was slow off the line and dropped well down the order on the opening lap.

However, Bottas was able to recover well, driving strongly to bring the car home in sixth, with the Finn executing a good strategy as well as making some impressive on-track overtakes in a car he knew was competitive enough to be inside the top ten.

“I am very happy about tonight’s result: for me, but most importantly for the team, with two cars in the points, and for Zhou who got points in his first race,” said Bottas.  “The race went really well, with the exception of the start: I got a lot of wheelspin and was basically a sitting duck for the first lap, just trying to avoid contact.

“When that stabilised, however, we had really good pace: we didn’t give up, executed a really good strategy and, in the end, completed a good recovery. We took it lap by lap as we knew we had the car to get back in the top 10.

“It is a great way to start the season: there are still things to improve, of course, but we’re just at the first race of the year. Our priority was reliability and I am happy we could finish with both cars as the speed is there. Everyone did a good job and we are going in the right direction.”

“It is a day I will never forget” – Zhou Guanyu

Team-mate Zhou Guanyu also scored a top ten finish in Bahrain, with the first-ever Chinese Formula 1 driver securing a tenth-place result despite also suffering with delays on the opening lap.

Zhou admitted it was an incredible feeling to finally race in Formula 1, but he fell to the back of the pack on lap one as his C42-Ferrari went into anti-stall at turn one, but he, like Bottas, was able to make the strategy work and on-track passes happen to move up the order.

When the two Oracle Red Bull Racing drivers retired in the final three laps, Zhou was in position to take home the final point on offer in tenth, with the Chinese driver full of pride and praise for his team for their efforts in developing their 2022 challenger.

“I am so happy, I am speechless,” said Zhou.  “There are so many emotions tonight but my first thought is for the team: seeing how everyone worked so hard to go from where we were at the end of last year to where we are today is so incredible.

“My biggest dream was to race in F1, then to score points and tonight we did both: being on the grid before the race, with the other 19 drivers, was crazy enough, but the race itself was so intense. It wasn’t so physically, but rather mentally: I had an issue at the start, the car went into anti-stall at turn one and then I knew I would have to do something special to recover to the top 10.

“I pushed a lot, caught up with Valtteri and then lost track position again when the Safety Car came out, before climbing back to P10 – such a rollercoaster. I tried to give everything I had tonight as this meant so much to me and all those who supported me.

“The cool-down lap was quite emotional: I am so proud of my team and of my team-mate, for all the work we did together to bring home this reward. It is a day I will never forget and I will enjoy the moment for a while, but then it’s all attention to Jeddah: there is a lot more we want to achieve.”

Zhou Guanyu scored a point on his Formula 1 debut in Bahrain – Credit: Xavi Bonilla / DPPI
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Thirty-something motorsport fanatic, covering Formula 1, Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula 3. Feel free to give him a follow on Twitter at @Paul11MSport.
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