Valtteri Bottas took responsibility for his safety car-inducing spin into the gravel trap during the United States Grand Prix on Sunday, with the Finn feeling it cost him a chance of a top ten finish.
The Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN driver has not finished inside the points since the Canadian Grand Prix back in June, but he was in contention at the Circuit of the Americas until he spun off at the penultimate corner whilst attempting to close the gap of Scuderia AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly.
Bottas had already survived a robust overtake from Oracle Red Bull Racing’s Sergio Pérez on the opening lap of the race that cost him momentum and a couple of places, but he felt he had the car to break his pointless run had he not put it in the gravel trap.
“We were looking really strong for points, so it’s disappointing to finish my race early,” said Bottas. “At the start, I was going into Turn Nine on the opening lap and saw Perez diving in at the very end: it was very close, and I had to go wide losing momentum and a couple of places, but luckily we just touched.
“I passed [Alexander] Albon, settled into a rhythm, but when I was trying to close the gap to Gasly to get into DRS range I made a mistake in Turn 19 and lost the rear end. I later found out that, at the same time, there was quite a big gust of wind, so a combination of that and pushing too hard put an end to my race.
“It was very unfortunate, as our pace was promising, and a points finish could’ve definitely been possible today. I’m looking forward to turning the tide next week in Mexico and bringing home some points.”
“We knew today was always going to be difficult” – Zhou Guanyu
Team-mate Zhou Guanyu ended his day in thirteenth after a tough day for the Chinese driver, and although penalties for other drivers moved him up two places, he was unable to add to his 2022 FIA Formula 1 World Championship points tally.
Zhou had started at the back of the pack on Sunday after taking a grid penalty for an engine change, but he did not feel he had the pace or luck to contend for a top ten finish.
“We knew today was always going to be difficult, starting from the back: we tried to make something happen, but, towards the end, holding off drivers who were mounting newer tyres compared to ours became almost impossible,” said Zhou.
“We tried to stay out hoping for something to happen that would favour us, but eventually it didn’t quite work out.
“Overall, it’s been quite a tricky day for the team, but at least we go again next week in Mexico: as a positive, we showed good performances on track.
“For sure the upgrades we brought here helped a lot, we’ve been so much stronger especially in one-lap pace, and we saw both cars had the pace to get into Q3.”