Valtteri Bottas was content with his seventh-place finish in Sunday’s Miami Grand Prix, but he knows that for the timing of the safety car and a small mistake, it could easily have been fifth.
The Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN driver had been inside the top five all afternoon long at the Miami International Autodrome and was keeping a good distance to the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team drivers, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell.
However, the crash between Pierre Gasly and Lando Norris brought out the safety car and bunched up the field, with Russell taking on fresh tyres as well. Bottas attempted to defend his position but ran offline, clipping the wall and losing enough time to fall behind both Mercedes drivers.
“I am happy with our performance, it was a strong race although, in the end, we were penalised by the timing of the Safety Car,” said Bottas. “I was managing the gap over Lewis [Hamilton] and P5 would have been possible, but once the race was neutralised, the gap was gone and George [Russell] was on fresh tyres behind us, so keeping this place would have been difficult.
“I was trying to brake late to defend my position, overshot the braking point slightly and sadly the nature of the track here means that if you go off the line a little and into the dirt, you’re off and you hit the wall. I was lucky nothing broke on the car and I could continue.
“Still, we bring home some good points which will be super important for the championship, and we showed we can fight on a par with everyone in the midfield. It’s all very close and the way we keep developing will be important to stay ahead in this fight.”
“I feel we had all it took to achieve a positive result today” – Zhou Guanyu
Team-mate Zhou Guanyu’s Miami Grand Prix was over pretty much before it really began, with a water leak causing his retirement after just six laps.
Zhou had made early progress up the field and had made up three positions before his team called him back into the pits to retire. It means four consecutive outings for the Chinese driver since he broke into the top ten in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.
He now hopes to turn around his fortune in the Spanish Grand Prix in two weeks time, knowing he has the speed in the C42-Ferrari to attack for the top ten.
“It’s a shame to be forced to retire when we were making good inroads: I feel we had all it took to achieve a positive result today,” said Zhou. “We are still investigating what the issue was, all we know is that it was a water leak but we’ll need to identify the causes and address them.
“It’s frustrating, of course, but it’s part of racing. My short race wasn’t bad, I was three places up from where I started when I retired and I felt the car was really good.
“Now my focus is all on the next race: I want to turn things around and be where we deserve to be, but to do so we need to put everything together across the weekend.”