Valtteri Bottas had to check his Alfa Romeo car post F1 Saudi Arabian GP to see what was ailing him in the race to fall one lap behind.
While Alfa Romeo reckoned it wasn’t that they performed bad or were slow in F1 Saudi Arabian GP, it was more that the field was more close in Jeddah than Bahrain and a tenth or so mattered which left him not making it into Q3 in qualifying.
The grand prix too didn’t pan out as they hoped for. Zhou Guanyu still had a decent run, but Bottas was last eventually and finished a lap down. He even finished behind the McLaren pair who had their race damaged due to the first lap incident.
Lando Norris had run over some debris and Bottas believes he perhaps hit himself. The team did see him to be sliding around more and losing time, but they couldn’t pin out what the damage was and how much he lost per lap due to it.
Post-race, Bottas was seen checking his car where his particular focus was on the rear. “Our qualifying performance was similar to the one we had in Bahrain, so we had good hopes for the race, but unfortunately the race was a very different affair,” he said. “The car didn’t feel right, we couldn’t get any grip from the beginning of the race and we need to figure out exactly what happened.
“I ran over a large piece of debris on lap one, so perhaps I was carrying some damage to the floor: we’ll look at the car and at the data and understand more to prepare for Melbourne. I believe our car is much better than what we’ve shown. Zhou had a much better pace, so I don’t think this weekend was very representative, and I am confident we can be back fighting for points in Australia,” summed up Bottas.
At the time Alfa Romeo head of trackside engineering Xevi Pujolar didn’t have answers straight away with regards to the issues that Bottas faced. But on the pace side, he felt the team did well overall but they struggled for grip which was new for them.
“In terms of performance in qualifying, we were same or even a step better than Bahrain,” said Pujolar. “On Friday we were struggling a bit, we were doing some tests, just trying to explore different areas on the car configuration to see if we could extract a bit more. We saw some improvements in some areas, but we lost too much in some others, and then we revert back on Saturday. We were close to Q3, and everyone was very, very tight.
“In the race, I think we struggled a bit more with the grip more than what we expected. Everyone is so close that as soon as you lose a bit of pace, you struggle to get back there fighting for the points. With Valtteri, at the moment we’re still investigating. Now that we have the car, we will check what happened for him.
“For sure something wasn’t working as expected. We could see with the level of sliding and how everything was going on with all the tyres, that’s why we said ‘okay, initially, maybe something with a specific compound’, but we tried different compounds and do the same with all of them. So in that car we need to find the problem. I cannot give a number but it is obvious that he was losing a lot of performance and he was not having enough,” summed up Pujolar.
Here’s how F1 Saudi Arabian GP panned out