Valtteri Bottas explains why he dropped to last place on opening lap at Monza

Jon Wilde
Valtteri Bottas in the Italian Grand Prix pack. Monza September 2022.

Valtteri Bottas in the Italian Grand Prix pack at the opening chicane. Monza September 2022.

Valtteri Bottas has explained his troubled start to the Italian Grand Prix in which he dropped to the back of the field.

The Finn was among the nine drivers who were given power unit-related grid penalties and he lined up 15th at Monza.

However, once the action began, he soon found himself right at the back after his Alfa Romeo made contact with two rivals, one at either end of the car.

As the field bunched up for entry to the Rettifilo chicane, Bottas was towards the outside going into Turn 1. He was clipped from behind by a car believed to be Mick Schumacher’s, which in turn sent him into the other Haas driven by Kevin Magnussen.

From there, the 33-year-old slipped to the rear of the pack and ran a long first stint on the medium tyres to lap 37 of 53, at which point he switched to the softs.

There was some useful progress thereafter but Bottas could only improve as high as 13th position before the Safety Car came out on lap 48, that being the end of the actual racing until the chequered flag fell.

Asked by about the incident at the start, Bottas said: “I had contact from behind and then I hit the car ahead and lost the front wing endplate.

“At that moment I triggered the anti-stall in the engine, which I couldn’t recover until the exit of Turn 2. So that’s why I was pretty much last after Turn 1 and 2.”

Nevertheless, it was a more positive weekend for Alfa Romeo than of late as Bottas’ team-mate Zhou Guanyu, finished a very solid 10th – running in a DRS train behind the McLarens for much of the race.

That was the first point Alfa Romeo had scored since the Canadian Grand Prix in mid-June.

“I think even with the damage it wasn’t that bad,” said Bottas of his own race pace.

“It was good to see we had one car in the points and myself not that far off, so that’s at least quite a bit better than in the last few events. Hopefully it will be the same case in Singapore.”

Zhou was understandably relieved to score a point for only the third time in his debut F1 season.

“I feel like it’s been such a long time, for my side and also for the team, because it’s been pretty up and down,” said the Chinese driver.

“The first part of the season there were a lot of DNFs and the second part we haven’t been competitive enough to be in the points, so this was a good result in the home race for Alfa Romeo.

“I’m very happy and proud with the job we were able to do in a short turnaround from Zandvoort to here.”