A determined performance by Valtteri Bottas at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, where he finished ninth, gave Alfa Romeo a five-point lead over Aston Martin in the battle for sixth place in the constructors’ standings, and the Finn voiced his satisfaction with the result.
Bottas showed impressive speed as he advanced from 14th on the grid to sixth at race’s end on Sunday, but he was ultimately passed by a small group of cars after a late Safety Car left him exposed on older tyres.
However, the Finn kept his composure and finished ninth to earn two points for his team before this weekend’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll finished tenth.
Bottas, after a long day behind the wheel, said, “It was excellent – a terrific race, good fights.” As a matter of fact, I found it to be rather entertaining. You’ll have a lot more fun if you set the pace, of course. It’s encouraging to go up from ninth to 14th.
“We’re delighted because once again we outscored Aston. We see [finishing in sixth place] as crucial to our success. It’s encouraging that we’ve been doing well in the previous couple of competitions. We still have one deal to close in Abu Dhabi.
Other C42 driver Zhou Guanyu finished 12th despite encountering many issues, including a malfunctioning helmet and turbo, and pitting eight laps sooner than teammate Bottas, which made things more difficult for him during the final Safety Car restart.
Personally, it was challenging since “at first I had something trapped in my helmet, so it was sort of irritating, the drinks pipe… I have to take it out,” said Zhou, who was making his Interlagos debut with the added twist of the Sprint format.
Our team was deficient in… There were turbo problems on corner departure, which caused us a lot of trouble, particularly during [Safety Car] restarts. We need to figure out what caused this.
I’m glad to see that they were able to rally for the title. After a tough start, I was able to help my team by forcing the other drivers to pit sooner, which improved our total performance.
After two top-10 finishes in a row, Bottas is now tenth in the drivers’ standings on 49 points, while Zhou is down in eighteenth with six points for his debut season.