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Bottas: Upgrades should ‘help us more’ in Suzuka after taking ‘gambles’ in Singapore

A technical issue saw Valtteri Bottas’s race come to an early end after a compromised strategy saw him drop down the order

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Valtteri Bottas has looked back at his anti-climactic Singapore Grand Prix after a disappointing first half of the race saw him retire on lap 51 due to a technical issue. However, the Finn has said that with the “position and pace” they knew they would have to take some risks.

Bottas
Valtteri Bottas driving the (77) Alfa Romeo F1 C43 on track during the F1 Grand Prix of Singapore at Marina Bay Street Circuit on September 17, 2023 in Singapore. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
What went wrong for Bottas?

Alfa Romeo’s underwhelming night under the Marina Bay lights was already off to a bad start. Bottas planned to take advantage of a long first stint on the hard compound tyre. However, an early Safety Car,  brought out by Logan Sargeant crashing into the wall, meant the former Mercedes driver was left on the back foot as it was too early for him to pit.

Speaking to Formula 1, Bottas said: “We knew we had to take some gambles today, taking into consideration our starting position and the pace we expected to have.

“The timing of the Safety Car didn’t really work for us – it was too early – and we couldn’t stop to switch to mediums at that stage, hoping to get them to the end of the race.”

Bottas and his teammate Zhou Guanyu couldn’t make it into the top 10. As a result, they failed to score any points in Singapore. Meanwhile, their championship rivals Haas were able to boost their points tally. However, this result leaves the Swiss team two points behind Haas in the championship standings.

Where did Alfa Romeo’s upgrades go?

Although Alfa Romeo had brought upgrades to the C43 for the Singapore Grand Prix, fans were left questioning when they would see an increase in pace. However, Bottas was quick to explain that they “learnt a lot about the upgrades” and are expecting to see them thrive at the Japanese Grand Prix. He added that a compromised strategy led to them not being able to show their full potential, as other cars on fresher tyres forced them back down the order.

“We weren’t making much progress and, eventually, our race came to an end with a technical issue: we had to stop the car as a precaution, and we’ll need to understand what happened.

“Today really wasn’t our day, but at least we learned a lot about our upgrades: we expect them to help us more in Suzuka.”

“We knew we had to try an aggressive strategy to make up ground. The gamble almost worked, the SC did come, but unfortunately too early: its timing was perfect for those starting on mediums and it shuffled us to the back.

“At the final VSC, we committed not to stop for softs again, throwing the dice hoping for some other neutralization, but nothing happened and, in the end, we lost places to those on fresh tyres.”

The last time Bottas scored points at Suzuka was in 2019 when he won the race for Mercedes. Although the Finn won’t be looking for a victory this time round in Japan, he will certainly be aiming for the point-scoring positions to help boost Alfa Romeo’s chances of jumping Haas in the Constructors Championship.

Headline image: GettyImages

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