Valtteri Bottas was fifth for a long time, but then everything turned around when the safety car was sent out due to the collision between Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly. Not only Mercedes was able to catch up to him, George Russell was also very lucky with a free tire change. The Finn later admitted he was distracted by the battle between the two Mercedes. As a result, he missed his braking point in turn seventeen. With seven laps to go, Bottas touched the wall and lost two positions to the Mercedes drivers. He finished seventh.
“I had hoped beforehand that everything would go smoothly and it did until safety was in place. George got an opportunity to stop for new media and closed the gap very quickly. In his attempt to pass Lewis , I looked in the mirrors. They were approaching me very fast and I thought to slam the door, then I braked too late and missed the apex. I was coming onto the dirt at slow speed but understeered into the wall. I was lucky, nothing broke off or I got a flat tire.”
When asked if he could have held off Lewis Hamilton without neutralizing, he replies. “Why not. It all changed when George put new tires on. I didn’t like the safety car, but that’s the way things work.” The disappointed Bottas says he is encouraged by the speed and consistency of the car, especially after his crash in FP1. “We came back from that in good shape,” continues the Alfa Romeo driver. “The pace in the race was close to Mercedes. It’s a good sign that we can keep up with them. It’s a shame we didn’t finish fifth, but P7 is still okay.”
Bottas is eighth overall and has finished in the points four times in the five Grands Prix. He also argues that this was a race that has shown a shift in the team’s mindset to compete at the top of midfield. “They didn’t fall out for me so we fought for fifth place. I’m curious to see how things go in Barcelona, at least we’ll get there with updates.”