Valtteri Bottas “cooked” the rear tyres in a terrible start in Bahrain, but was pleased to work his way back up to P6 at the chequered flag.
In what was his first race weekend as an Alfa Romeo driver, Bottas it appeared had set himself up nicely for a good points haul having secured P6 on the grid.
He found himself lining up alongside his former Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton on row three, but it was a dismal start for Bottas who quickly dropped out of the top 10.
But with the C42 proving competitive in race trim also, he was able to recover into the points with a double retirement for Red Bull helping him to cross the line P6, the position where he started the race.
“A good recovery. The start was definitely the weak point of the race and a bit of a disaster,” Bottas told reporters after the race.
“Just massive wheelspin off the line, pretty much cooked the rear tyres and then I was like a sitting duck for the first lap.
“Something to learn, something to look into, but then when things stabilised actually I had a good recovery, good strategy and smooth race.”
Points! Well done boys. A big effort, good overtakes and we're showing that this year we're here to fight.
— Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN (@alfaromeoorlen) March 20, 2022
The pace in the C42 was clear as Bottas worked his way up through the order, with his team-mate Zhou Guanyu also making moves having started P15.
In what was Zhou’s first race in Formula 1, he was able to claim a point with a P10 finish.
“I think we had decent pace so it’s encouraging and I’m really happy for Guanyu as well – first race and he got points, which is really good,” said Bottas.
“So a couple of points to start the season – not bad.”
The new-look Formula 1 cars have been designed to allow drivers to follow more closely, thus increasing overtaking, so the success of Bottas and Zhou in these areas suggests Formula 1’s goals are being realised.
Bottas said high-speed corners are still a bit of a weakness for the C42, but overall “the pace is there” and he sees Bahrain as a “good starting point”.
Suggested to Bottas the new cars must excite him, since he could attack and overtake, he replied: “Yeah, absolutely, the pace is there. There are still some things with the car we need to improve, especially the high-speed corners is a bit of a weakness.
“But apart from that, a good starting point.”