Bottas cites debris for ‘long Saudi Sunday’
By Ian Parkes
Wednesday 22nd March, 2023 - 9:08pm
Valtteri Bottas believes running over a piece of debris on the opening lap of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix contributed to his wretched performance at the Jeddah Corniche Circuit.
Alfa Romeo driver Bottas finished last of the 18 classified finishers, a lap down on race winner Sergio Perez, and in stark contrast to the Finn’s stellar opening weekend drive in Bahrain where he was eighth.
Despite believing he had a realistic opportunity of scoring points again in Jeddah, Bottas’ race was seemingly compromised from the start, leading to three pit stops overall and the 33-year-old seeking an explanation as to why there was a dramatic drop off.
“Something was not right,” said Bottas. “I was so much off the pace.
“I’m suspecting I ran over quite a big piece of debris on lap one before Turn Four. I could really feel it under the floor, so perhaps some damage. That’s my only explanation. Obviously, we’ll have a look.”
Explaining the effects on the car that followed, Bottas added: “I was sliding around basically, lack of grip.
“With the soft tyres (after the third stop with 14 laps remaining), maybe one or two laps were okay, but then the same thing. Something wasn’t right, so it felt like a long Sunday.”
Bottas hoping for answers by Australia
Bottas had suggested after qualifying 14th on Saturday that whilst he had got the most out of the car, there was still something lacking.
“It seemed a bit more serious than that, and I’m keen to find out what it is, why it was so much slower than we thought so we’ll have a look,” added Bottas.
Searching for an elusive positive, Bottas said: “At least the gap to Q3 was like in Bahrain, so at least on quali pace we didn’t go backwards. But that’s about it.
“Now I just need to figure out everything from the weekend and hopefully have a better one in Australia.”
The Australian Grand Prix weekend at Melbourne’s Albert Park runs from March 30-April 2.
Before then, Bottas will drive the VF Commodore which won the 2016 Bathurst 1000 at the Adelaide Motorsport Festival this weekend.
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