Reality hit hard for Valtteri Bottas at the Canadian Grand Prix. Just a day after he enhanced his reputation as one of the rising stars of Formula 1 by upstaging some of the biggest names in the sport to qualify third, he came back to Earth.
The rain that had helped him on Saturday stayed away and with the sun shining brightly on the Montreal street circuit, his Williams car could not keep up and drifted back through the field to finish 14th.
“We fought hard to try and secure some points today but ultimately we just didn’t have the pace in the car,” he said.
“I didn’t get a great start which allowed a few cars to jump me on the first lap, and in the dry conditions we simply couldn’t match the level of competitiveness we showed yesterday.”
Despite his disappointment, the 23-year-old rookie from Finland, competing in just his seventh race, was still buoyed by the improved performance in qualifying.
“I have learnt a lot from the race today and as a team we can take positives from the weekend,” he said.
Once an unstoppable force in Formula One, winning nine constructors’ championships and seven drivers’ titles, the British-based team has fallen on hard times. They have failed to score a single point all season.
Bottas, who won the GP3 title in 2011 and spent last year as Williams reserve driver, gave the team a real boost with his performance on Saturday but technical director Mike Coughlan said it was a false dawn.
“We knew Valtteri’s grid position was not representative of our current pace, but we had hoped to be able to challenge for some points,” he said.
“Valtteri drove a solid race without making any mistakes, but ultimately the pace wasn’t in the car to enable him to hold a top ten position today.” (Reuters)