Bottas rues late Safety Car after losing to Mercedes

Michelle Foster
Valtteri Bottas leads the Mercedes drivers. Miami May 2022

Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas leads the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. Miami May 2022

Valtteri Bottas was penalised by the timing of the Safety Car at the Miami Grand Prix, which meant he lost positions to his old Mercedes team.

Bottas had a solid weekend at the Miami International Autodrome, the Finn out-qualifying his former team-mate Lewis Hamilton to line up P5 on the grid.

He spent most of the Miami Grand Prix running fifth, unable to close in on the leading Red Bull and Ferrari cars but managing the gap to those behind led by Hamilton.

However, a late Safety Car for Lando Norris’ crash negated his advantage and the two Mercedes team-mates lined up right behind him with Hamilton ahead of George Russell, the latter on fresh tyres.

Trying to defend, Bottas overshot the braking point and tapped the wall, the driver falling to P7 behind the Mercedes duo.

“Everything went smoothly until the Safety Car,” lamented Bottas to “It was a race as one would wish for before then.”

The 32-year-old could only watch in his mirrors as the Mercedes drivers closed up on his rear wing.

But while Bottas thought about how he would close the door, he instead opened it.

“I could see he (Russell) was catching up quickly on his fresh mediums. When he passed Lewis I watched it in the mirror because they got pretty close and I thought I might have to close the door,” he said.

“I came onto the dirty asphalt and although I was driving slowly, I still understeered into the wall.

“Up until then everything was going smoothly, but when George had the fresh tyres it changed everything.”

Team boss Frederic Vasseur had mixed emotions about the result, saying Alfa Romeo being a “little disappointed with seventh place” shows how much progress they have made.

“We were really strong out there and we ran most of the race comfortably in P5, just behind the two Red Bulls and Ferraris. The timing of the Safety Car really affected us, nullifying Valtteri’s advantage over the two Mercedes,” said Vasseur.


“Still, bringing home six points is a positive result and another gain for our championship standings, but we know we can improve even more.”

Alfa Romeo are up to fifth in the Constructors’ Championship with 31 points, five ahead of Alpine.