Valtteri Bottas acknowledged his amazement at his previous team’s troubles in 2022 after finishing second to Mercedes’ George Russell and well above Lewis Hamilton at Imola.
The extent to which Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton have battled thus far in the 2022 season has astonished Valtteri Bottas.
Valtteri Bottas joined Alfa Romeo this year following five trophy-laden seasons as Hamilton’s teammate at Mercedes, including a clean sweep of the Constructors’ Championship championships.
The new technical regulations, which went into effect at the beginning of 2022, have thrown a kink in the works for Mercedes, whose W13 challenger suffers from porpoising and has shown to be significantly slower than Ferrari and Red Bull.
While George Russell made the most of the mayhem at the start of Sunday’s race at Imola to finish fourth, Hamilton was only able to finish 13th after a low-key performance.
Bottas, on the other hand, continued his good start to 2022 with a fine fifth position, just 0.6s behind Russell, and expressed his happiness with his life at Alfa Romeo.
“Obviously, I’m very happy to be in the place where I am at the moment – I’m really enjoying it,” Bottas said.
“We had better race pace today, but I focus on other things and focus on improving our car, which we did this weekend, and hopefully we can do it in the next race as well.”
Bottas is now only four points behind former Mercedes teammate Hamilton in the 2022 Drivers’ Championship standings, and he has no idea why the Silver Arrows have had such a bad start to the season.
“I don’t know the reasons why they’re struggling. I don’t know the technical details,” the Alfa Romeo driver added. “I didn’t see what happened in the race. I would imagine [Hamilton] was stuck behind other cars, and if there’s a DRS train, it’s not easy.”
“I think George had a great start, so that was key for his race today, but I’m sure we’ll see a strong Lewis still in the coming races.”
“It is surprising. I never expected it to be that tricky [for Mercedes], but they’re still scoring points, so hopefully, eventually, we can score more than them.”