Valtteri Bottas admits it has been “weird” to see his former team Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton struggle in the opening stages of the 2022 season.
Having won the previous eight Constructors’ Championships, Mercedes now find themselves scrapping for what little points they can as Hamilton crossed the line in 10th in Saudi Arabia.
Their form has been the opposite of Alfa Romeo and Bottas, who have been among the surprise packages of the season so far.
Bottas outqualified the man who replaced him at Mercedes, George Russell, at the Bahrain Grand Prix and looked on course to beat Hamilton in Saudi Arabia before his DNF.
Speaking about his former team, the Finn admitted it was “weird” to see the once dominant Mercedes struggling.
“It’s weird to see,” he said following Hamilton’s elimination in Q1, as reported by grandprix247.com.
“I would guess he had some kind of issue, I don’t know.
8th in very close qualifying – tomorrow will be fun 💪https://t.co/wxgdraUjj6#VB77 #F1 #SaudiArabianGP @alfa_romeo @alfaromeoorlen pic.twitter.com/jDS2EGoUbL
— Valtteri Bottas (@ValtteriBottas) March 26, 2022
“It is surprising to see them struggling, but it’s also nice to be able to battle with them.
“I think this was kind of the best-case-scenario for our first season together that I could ever imagine, with the information I had.”
Bottas looked on course to make it two points-scoring races from two until a rising engine temperature forced him to retire the car in Jeddah.
Having challenged for P6, including a battle with Alpine’s Fernando Alonso and Esteban Ocon, he said his late DNF was “how racing goes”.
“It’s a pity to retire from what had been a really good race until that moment, especially as we were looking good for P6 at least,” the 32-year-old said.
“The engine temperatures kept rising. We need to investigate what caused that, but we had to pull the car out as we didn’t want to lose the engine.
“It’s how racing goes. We now need to make sure we solve whatever issue it was and move on.
“Looking at the positives, the car is really good. We made another step forward from the previous race, even in the starts.
“We were doing a good job and enjoying some close battles. Now let’s make sure we get back to scoring in Australia.”
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