Valtteri Bottas confidently led the first race in the Alfa Romeo, finishing sixth in Bahrain. The Finnish racer believes that his team, along with Haas, is a contender for the title of the best team in the middle group.
Question Are you happy that you finished in the same position from which you started, given the problems in the first lap
Valtteri Bottas: That’s right, but a few meetings helped me win back the position. As I said on Saturday, if someone had told us before the weekend that we would be sixth in qualifying and in the race, we would have agreed. Finishing with two cars in the top ten is a much better result compared to those that the team has achieved in previous years.
Our next goal is to get ahead of Haas, who managed to build a very fast car. As for Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari, they are ahead. At least we almost got “the best of the rest” – not the worst start to the season.
Question What happened to you at the start
Valtteri Bottas: I had a strong slippage of the wheels, because of which I overheated the rear tires – they skidded in third gear! As a result, on the first lap, my car slipped in all corners, and I could not defend myself.
Question Does the team know the cause of the problem or is it a one-time failure
Valtteri Bottas: This is a mechanical problem. In 50% of cases, vibrations occur in the clutch, and when this happens, it is very easy to prevent slipping. We are working on this problem.
Question How much easier has it become to fight rivals after the transition to the new regulations
Valtteri Bottas: It has become easier in terms of fighting on the track, but if we are talking about chasing in fast turns, it still causes difficulties. However, in slow and medium-speed turns it became easier to closely follow the opponents. I believe that a step has been taken in the right direction.
However, for example, after a restart without DRS it became almost impossible to overtake. DRS is still needed for overtaking.
Question Are you happy with your speed in the race
Valtteri Bottas: Our car has a good racing pace and the tires do not wear out so fast compared to other teams, which is positive.
Question: Has the efficiency of the slip stream decreased?
Valtteri Bottas: Yes, it got worse with the slip stream, but on the other hand, the effect of DRS is higher. Overall, it got better than last year.
Question How do you assess the first race of a partner
Valtteri Bottas: Magnificent. Earning points in the first race is a great achievement. I think Zhou had a good race.
Question Do you like working with him
Valtteri Bottas: He is very pleasant to talk to and really wants to learn. He takes a step forward by analyzing feedback and telemetry. He is learning fast, so I expect him to make good progress over the course of the season.
Question Do you think it’s time to reconsider the goals for the season
Valtteri Bottas: We need to talk about this with Frederick Wasser! Let’s see, but obviously we need to raise the bar, but not allow a rollback.
Question Who has a faster car now – Haas or Alfa Romeo
Valtteri Bottas: At the moment at Haas. If Kevin hadn’t had a qualifying problem, I wouldn’t have been able to get ahead of him. I am based on the time he showed in the second part. And in the race, they were also quite fast.
Question Apparently Ferrari managed to build a great engine Does this inspire optimism on the stage in Saudi Arabia?
Valtteri Bottas: It is nice to see such characteristics of the power plant. I think there is no difference between the motors. It is important that we have the power, but now the result depends more on the machine.
Question What do you expect from the race in Jeddah
Valtteri Bottas: It’s hard to say. Apparently, the weakness of our car is the speed in fast turns, and in Jeddah they are more than in Bahrain. Let’s see how the car will perform, but the track in Jeddah itself provides greater traction on the asphalt. Let’s see.