Bottas: Grid penalty ‘annoying’ on perfect weekend

Date published: September 11 2021 - Jon Wilde

Valtteri Bottas holding the winner's medal after winning sprint qualifying for the Italian GP. Monza September 2021.

Valtteri Bottas conceded it was “annoying” to be starting at the back of the grid after what has been a “perfect” Italian Grand Prix weekend for him so far.

Up to now, the Finn has produced the ideal response to the news confirmed on Monday that he will no longer drive for Mercedes next year, moving to Alfa Romeo having been dropped in favour of George Russell.

Fastest in the traditional one-hour qualifying session, Bottas then led the sprint throughout its 18-lap distance at Monza from Max Verstappen to collect three World Championship points as his team-mate Lewis Hamilton made a poor getaway and crossed the line fifth.

But rather than securing pole position, the 32-year-old already knew he would be starting the main event right at the back of the grid due to penalties incurred for Mercedes changing a variety of engine parts.

That meant conflicting emotions for Bottas – in keeping with the week he has had all round after his future was revealed.

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“What can I say, it’s been a perfect weekend so far and now I have a grid penalty,” said Bottas, quoted by Crash.net. “That happens, but it’s good to see we have good speed from the car here, good pace, and I’ll be fighting tomorrow, going as high as I can.

“For sure it’s annoying. We’ve done good the last two days, with good performance and then you kind of reset completely for the day after and you start from the back.

“Those are things that are out of my hands, so I won’t waste too much energy or be too negative about it because there’s absolutely nothing I can do about it.

“The only thing I can do is try my best and go full gas tomorrow. At least I got a few points – every point counts for me personally and for us as a team.”

In terms of points, Bottas thinks he can still add plenty more to his tally at Monza in the belief that making up a lot of positions is feasible.

“The podium is possible, anything is possible, to be honest, if you look at the race last year, what happened. You never know. I’ll keep pushing.”

Bottas was referring to Pierre Gasly’s victory in 2020 from 10th on the grid, but that was a highly unusual race in which Hamilton looked to be coasting to victory until penalised for entering the pit lane illegally under red flag conditions.