Bottas seeking answers after disappointing Azerbaijan GP
By Mat Coch
Monday 1st May, 2023 - 9:34am
Valtteri Bottas was left seeking answers following a disappointing Azerbaijan Grand Prix that saw him last of the classified finishers.
The Finn ended the race 18th, a lap behind race winner Sergio Perez.
It’s the second race in succession that Bottas has been the last classified runner across the line, having been 12th in Australia (promoted to 11th following a penalty for Carlos Sainz).
“It wasn’t a great race for us and we were never in the mix for the points: we need to understand what happened and, most importantly, how to get back to being competitive,” he said.
“My race was hard from the start: I had a contact in turn two, I was on the outside and I was hit from the left and from behind, which left me with some damage.
It was quite a long race after that: we tried to find a way back in, as anything can happen here, but eventually, there weren’t any chances for us to rebuild our race.”
Bottas was in the thick of the action at the race start and was hit by Oscar Piastri at Turn 2 after Alex Albon had tagged the Australian.
However, Alfa Romeo Sauber’s head of trackside engineering, suggested that the incident had little impact on the race.
“We had some small damage but nothing obvious that was affecting the main performance,” he admitted.
“The performance in the race was not great on either car, which was nothing to do with that incident on lap one.
“We were lacking grip and that was affecting our pace,” he added.
“That is something that we will now look at as a team. It looks like our competitors, everyone is improving and we just need to regroup, see what we can do for Miami and then see how we can address this.
“Right now, we require a team effort. All the gaps are reasonably small and nothing is lost at the beginning of the season, but we just need to improve in multiple areas as a team.”
Across the garage, Zhou Guanyu was one of two retirements from the race.
As temperatures rose in his car, the Chinese driver was called into the pits to retire as a precaution.
Alfa Romeo Sauber remains eighth in the constructors’ championship with six points to its credit, while Bottas has not scored since the season-opener in Bahrain.
There is little time to recoup as F1 heads immediately to the United States for this weekend’s Miami Grand Prix.
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