F1’s Valterri Bottas is determined to beat Mercedes this season. The Finn left the Silver Arrows following the conclusion of the 2021 campaign after five years.
He signed for Alfa Romeo ahead of this season and finished fifth in Bahrain, before an unfortunate retirement in Saudi Arabia. The 32-year-old has gone from playing second fiddle to F1 legend Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes to being the leader and at the forefront of what Alfa Romeo hope is a new era for the team.
Bottas is keen to hit the ground running and believes his team have what it takes to give his former employers a run for their money. “We have what it takes to take on Mercedes and become the third power behind Red Bull Racing and Ferrari,” Bottas said. “That has to be our goal now.”
The driver out-qualified his Mercedes replacement George Russell in Bahrain, before doing the same to his former teammate in Saudi Arabia. His new chief engineer Xevi Pujolar is very impressed with the application shown by his newest acquisition.
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“It’s not just his speed,” he told Speedweek.com. “It’s mainly his attitude. He radiates so much positivity that the whole team gets involved.” Speaking about his former team over the Saudi Arabia Grand Prix weekend, Bottas admitted he was surprised to see Merecdes struggling.
“It’s weird to see,” he said following Hamilton’s elimination in Q1, as reported by grandprix247.com. “I would guess he had some kind of issue, I don’t know.
“It is surprising to see them struggling, but it’s also nice to be able to battle with them. I think this was kind of the best-case-scenario for our first season together that I could ever imagine, with the information I had.”
Bottas was disappointed to encounter problems of his own in Jeddah, but is keen to bounce back strong on April 10, when F1 returns to Australia for the first time since 2019. “It’s a pity to retire from what had been a really good race until that moment, especially as we were looking good for P6 at least,” he continued.
“The engine temperatures kept rising. We need to investigate what caused that, but we had to pull the car out as we didn’t want to lose the engine. “It’s how racing goes. We now need to make sure we solve whatever issue it was and move on.
“Looking at the positives, the car is really good. We made another step forward from the previous race, even in the starts. “We were doing a good job and enjoying some close battles. Now let’s make sure we get back to scoring in Australia.”