Last Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix saw Valtteri Bottas maintain his streak of scoring points in every race he has finished so far in 2022. This feat is all the more impressive seeing how the Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN’s driver started in P12 but crossed the finish line in an impressive P9. The chaotic and rain-affected conditions made sure the race was a memorable one and Bottas’ points keep the team in P5 ahead of Alpine and now with McLaren firmly in their sights.
The conditions in Monaco were far from straightforward and by the end of the national anthem the sodden track had ensured the race would have a delayed start. Due to so many delays, the full race distance was not reached but enough laps were completed to ensure the value of points was not affected, so Bottas came away from the principality with another two points to his name.
Speaking to select media, which included Motorlat, Valtteri Bottas reflected on his race which had been driven in ‘treacherous conditions’, according to Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur.
“Yesterday, was the most difficult day of the weekend and starting 12 finishing 3 places better was not a bad race in Monaco. It's so easy to make mistakes today and I'm glad I didn’t and also, I think as a team we made the right calls.” said Bottas after Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.
Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN chose an aggressive strategy which paid off after a disastrous qualifying had seen both cars finish far below what was expected based on the pace shown the week before in Barcelona. Alfa Romeo’s head of trackside engineering Xevi Pujolar was asked by Motorlat to share his thoughts on a weekend of damage limitation which saw Bottas’ two points keep the team fifth place in the constructors’ championship.
“That's perfect and that's what we wanted at least is damage limitation and still to leave Monaco P5 in the championship. Alpine is just behind but we are looking forwards to McLaren they are still there in reach, so we need to get back strong in Baku and we want to reduce that distance to McLaren as soon as possible.” Pujolar declared.
Gaining positions in Monaco is not easy and Bottas would explain that the key to success was making opportunities count as a team.
“We made the right strategic calls, which was a challenge as it was not easy to choose which tyres to pick at any time. We took some calculated risks and they paid off.
“In the race it felt a bit better than how it felt in the qualifying in terms of the feeling. Very changeable conditions but I’m glad we made all the right calls today and ended up in the points.” Bottas concluded.
Valtteri Bottas’ only DNF of the 2022 season to date came in Saudi Arabia and having finished last season’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix in P12, (albeit for Mercedes) the Finnish racer has every chance to finish much higher up in Baku this time round. Xevi Pujolar was asked by Motorlat as to what the team’s expectations are for the race.
“Ideally, we want to perform as the same way that we've been performing from race one to six consistently. Here we deviated from that consistency, and we lost a bit of potential…so we want to go back to this top of midfield for Baku.” said Pujolar.
Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN currently sit P5 in the F1 Constructors’ Championship. Despite only having a single point lead over Alpine, the fact that they consider McLaren – a team a further 18 points ahead - to be in their sights shows the confidence flowing through the team. With Valtteri Bottas scoring the vast majority of points for Alfa Romeo and Lando Norris doing the same for McLaren, it could come down to the form of the second driver of each team being the telling point.
All eyes on Baku then and the form of two very different drivers. One is rookie Zhou Guanyu and the other an 8-time F1 Grand Prix winner Daniel Ricciardo. This is a discussion for another time but who would have said that when this season began?
All of this just provides another reason why the 2022 Formula One season is an unmissable one.