Bottas felt last 10 laps were “more like ice skating than racing” on his way to P18 at F1 Imola GP

Photo Credit: Sauber
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Having lined up on the grid in P16, Sauber’s Valtteri Bottas was put on an alternate strategy in an attempt to secure the team’s first points of the season.

Unfortunately for the Finn, his hard tyres, which he fitted on lap 8 as they covered off Fernando Alonso, completely fell of the cliff in the final stages of the race which forced him to limp home in a lowly 18th and last place of all classified finishers.

After a poor start where both Sauber’s lost a place to Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, Bottas was one of the first to head for pit lane on lap 8, opting to get rid of his medium tyres for the longer lasting hards.

A move Bottas said was “good to give a try” as the nature of the Imola circuit did not lend itself to overtaking opportunities.

“It was good to give it a try, as it worked okay for most of the race, although the second stint lasted a bit too long, and my tires eventually dropped off over the last ten laps.

It was always going to be slightly difficult to make progress on such a narrow track, especially as our starting position wasn’t ideal.”

The attempt of an undercut looked to have worked for Bottas as once the pit cycle played out, he was sat in a comfortable P13.

Thirteen was the unlucky number for the Finn, however, as his hard tyres hit a major cliff and he plummeted down the order, from P13 on lap 52, to by the time he crossed the line on his 62nd tour of the track he was a lap down and in last place, P18. Bottas got overtaken by Magnussen, the Alpines, Guanyu and Sargeant.

Bottas felt his last stint was definitely too long as he said the last 10 laps was “a bit more like ice skating than racing”, such was the extent of the tyre degradation of his hards.

The F1 driver market silly season looks set to explode into life in the coming weeks, Bottas is one of those out of contract at the end of the current season.

With the announcement of Nico Hulkenberg’s arrival at Sauber and the heavy links between the team and Carlos Sainz, Bottas has been exploring his options.

The Finn was spotted coming out of the Williams motorhome at Imola, with strong rumours now spreading of him replacing Logan Sargeant next year.

Bottas has history with the Grove-based team, spending his first four seasons in F1 with Williams before moving to Mercedes in 2017.

With the Crown Jewel of the calendar coming this weekend in Monaco, Bottas will be hoping to put his first points on the board for the 2024 season where he has expressed the importance of qualifying well.

“We will also have something more track-specific for Monaco – that, of course, is a race of its own, where it’s all about qualifying.”