Saturday, July 20, 2024

Difficult for Alfa Romeo to make Spa Progress with Similar Pace Across Many Cars – Bottas

Valtteri Bottas acknowledged that the Belgian Grand Prix was always going to be a difficult race for Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake, especially when starting amongst a group of cars who are very equally matched.

The Finn started thirteenth but was able to make very little progress across the forty-four lap race at Spa-Francorchamps, with Bottas finishing twelfth, just under five seconds away from the top ten.

Bottas felt that Alfa Romeo’s pace in Belgium was very similar to other cars around him, which made making progress difficult, with his result not helped by the circuit not suiting the strong points of the car.

“We can say today has been a solid race, I was happy with our pace and with the strategy we chose,” said Bottas.  “Overall, it has been pretty much a straightforward one, with nothing much happening after the start, when I went slightly off on the grass to avoid Yuki [Tsunoda], who was heading right.

“Of course, with the pace being very similar for so many cars in the field, it was going to be a bit difficult to make progress, especially taking into consideration how this track hasn’t suited our car best and our starting positions.”

Bottas admits the team still need to make progress with the development of their C43-Ferrari if they are to come out on top in that midfield scrap as they bid to move up from ninth place in the Constructors’ Championship.

“There are still a few areas on which to improve, it hasn’t been the smoothest of weekends in terms of handling tricky weather conditions but we did make some progress,” Bottas added.

“Now, we are all going on a well-deserved summer break, in order to reset and come prepared to tackle the second half of the season.”

“We had good pace today, which allowed us to get in the mix” – Zhou Guanyu

Team-mate Zhou Guanyu finished just over ten seconds behind Bottas in thirteenth, the Chinese driver making up four positions from his grid slot.

Zhou agreed with Bottas that it was difficult to make ground up amid the tightly packed midfield battle, but to finish thirteenth was a good effort, with his final stint particularly satisfying for the sophomore driver.

He now heads into the summer break looking to recharge his batteries before racing resumes at the Circuit Zandvoort at the end of August, where he hopes Alfa Romeo can regain some momentum that had built up with upgrades being brought to the C43.

“We had good pace today, which allowed us to get in the mix and climb up a few positions,” said Zhou.  “I reckon our car has been much more competitive in dry conditions, and we’ll be working on making it better in all circumstances ahead of the second part of the season.

“Considering our starting positions, it was going to be difficult to make up ground, but in general, I was especially satisfied with my last stint, when we were able to come up from the back of the pack up to thirteenth place.

“Now, I am very excited to go home for the summer break, to switch off and recharge the batteries ahead of the second half of the season.

“We will be starting from Zandvoort, which is a high-downforce track I am looking forward to race on again: hopefully, we will be able to regain our momentum there, and get back into the fight for points.”

Zhou Guanyu ended thirteenth in Belgium after starting seventeenth – Credit: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake