Former Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas discussed the peculiar feeling he had after seeing Lewis Hamilton fail to make it out of the first qualifying phase in Saudi Arabia.
Hamilton had a foregettable outing in Jeddah and was eight tenths of a second slower than his teammate George Russell, who made it through till P# along with Bottas.
Last week, it was a different story as Hamilton’s car had performed better than Russell to see him finish a second in front of the youngster.
Summing it up, Bottas felt what was going on was pretty strange.
“It’s weird to see. I would guess he had some kind of issue, I don’t know,” Bottas told RacingNews365.com.
The result notched by Bottas, who finished P8, means that he has now outperformed both Hamilton and Russell individually over the first two weekends.
Bottas happy to be proving his worth
The Finn couldn’t help but hide his smile.
“It is surprising to see them struggling, but it’s also nice to be able to battle with them,” he added.
Much had been made of Bottas’ move to Alfa Romeo, but it now appears to be the right one. Having also been linked with Williams, Bottas will be happy with the early signs this season.
He is right to think that his choice has been vindicated, especially since he is also enjoying a mentorship role with new driver Zhou Guanyu.
“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 said.
“I’m really happy with the decision I made, and I’m happy overall as well. So yeah, [I’m] enjoying it.”
Unfortunately for Bottas, he was forced to retire in Jeddah, a measure that he said the team took to prevent overheating of their Ferrari engine.
“It was a good race until the engine temperature started to get up like that,” he said.
“The temperature rose a bit at first, then suddenly quickly. I tried to get off the gas and ride in free air, but the danger of an engine problem remained.”