Valtteri Bottas returned to the points for the first time since the opening race of the season last weekend, with the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake driver earning tenth place in the Canadian Grand Prix.
It could have been even better for the Finn as he was passed on the run to the chequered flag by Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant Formula 1 Team’s Lance Stroll, with Bottas struggling with tyre wear at the end of the race at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
However, it was pleasing for Bottas to return to the top ten for the first time since the Bahrain Grand Prix after a ‘solid’ afternoon in Canada, and he hopes it is the start of a revival after a very underwhelming start to the 2023 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season.
“I am pleased with our race today: I made up four positions during the race, and it’s always a good day when that happens, especially when you get a top ten finish, which had been our main goal all weekend long,” said Bottas.
“It could have been P9, but my tyres began to wear out towards the end of the race, and Lance [Stroll] got me on the finish line.
“Still, I think it is safe to say we executed a solid race today, and a good strategy as well; since Monaco, we have been making decent progress, and it’s proof of all the hard work put in by the team back home in Hinwil.”
Bottas says it will be important for Alfa Romeo to solve its problems on Saturdays so they can qualify better, and he has full belief in his team that they can begin to fight for regular top ten finishes.
“Even though we are bringing home only one point today, it’s a reward and a motivation boost to keep hunting for more,” he added. “Now, it will be important to keep working in this direction and focus on improving our Saturday performance.
“There are still some steps forward to make, and I am confident we can achieve this all together.”
“The race didn’t unfold in the way we needed” – Zhou Guanyu
Team-mate Zhou Guanyu had a far more disappointing weekend in Canada, with the Chinese driver struggling to sixteenth at the chequered flag having started the race right at the back of the pack.
Zhou admitted it had not been a great weekend on his side of the garage, starting with problems during Qualifying that left him twentieth on the grid, and from there he knew he was always in for a difficult Canadian Grand Prix.
“We knew the race was always going to be difficult, considering where we were starting, but I still believed we had a chance to turn it around: unfortunately, we didn’t manage to take it,” said Zhou.
“After the Safety Car went back in, I felt we could have got in the fight; we had started on the Mediums, and they were feeling pretty good. Unfortunately, the race didn’t unfold in the way we needed, and after the final pit stop there wasn’t much we could do.
“There’s no denying we still hoped to improve our results, but this weekend just hasn’t been easy for us. It can happen, but it is important now to switch our focus on getting back to the good performances we have shown recently, to come prepared in two weeks’ time in Spielberg.
“We have seen before how anything can happen during a Sprint Weekend: if we play our cards well, we’ll be able to get back in the top ten.”