Valtteri Bottas may have seen his run of Q3 appearances end on Saturday at Albert Park, but the Finn responded from that disappointment by taking eighth place for his second top ten finish of 2022.
The Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN driver admitted to enjoying his race in the first Australian Grand Prix since 2019, and he felt the C42-Ferrari was a much better car on the long runs than it had been in Qualifying where he was eliminated in Q2, which ended his run of one hundred and three appearances in the top ten shootout.
He believed the choice to run a thinner wing hindered him in Qualifying, but it all came together on race day, and he was able to move up through the field from twelfth on the grid.
“I really enjoyed the race today, it was a good performance with close racing and battles from beginning to end,” said Bottas.
“Of course, the most important thing is that we brought home some points, and that is due to a good job done by everyone in the team: I am happy with the calls that were made and how we raced – and, definitely, the thinner wing that penalized us yesterday turned out to be the right choice and helped us make progress.”
With upgrades coming to the car in the upcoming races, Bottas is confident that the positive start to the 2022 season can continue, and Alfa Romeo can fight for points on every race weekend.
“I had a fun day even though I had to work hard, pushing all the race: now hopefully we can continue to be strong and improve,” said the Finn. “We have upgrades coming in the next few rounds so we can continue fighting for points in every race.”
“I am a bit upset at missing out on the points” – Zhou Guanyu
Team-mate Zhou Guanyu was proud of his race, even if the Chinese driver was unable to break into the points in Australia as he ended up eleventh after Alexander Albon came out on fresh tyres just ahead of him on the final lap.
For the first time since joining Formula 1, Zhou was racing on a track unfamiliar to him, but he adapted well to the Albert Park circuit and was unlucky to lose positions due to the timing of the safety car, which made scoring points more difficult than they were hoping for.
Ultimately, stuck in a DRS train, he was unable to make up any notable ground, and was unfortunate to see Williams Racing’s Albon exiting the pits in front of him after the Thai drivers’ gamble to leave his pit stop to the start of the final lap of the race.
Nevertheless, It has been a strong start to his Formula 1 career, with a point in the Bahrain Grand Prix being followed by a pair of eleventh place finishes in Saudi Arabia and Australia, and Zhou hopes he can build on these performances.
“I am proud of my race, but obviously I am a bit upset at missing out on the points for such a close margin,” admitted Zhou. “Our pace was good, but we lost a few positions with the safety car and that made our life a lot harder.
“I gave it all and pushed so hard at the end, but I had no tyres left when I got to battle Alex and I couldn’t make it in front. Still, we solved the problem at the start and the race was good:
“I am looking back at my first three rounds in Formula 1 and my worst result is eleventh, so I can build on this positive start, aiming to score points in every race.”