Sauber “seem in a better place” after improved showing over F1 Spanish GP weekend — Bottas

Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu driving at Circuit De Barcelona-Catalunya
Photo Credit: Sauber
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Valtteri Bottas has lamented Sauber’s struggles in the high speed after a difficult Spanish Grand Prix weekend.

The Finnish driver languished in 16th place at the chequered flag after going the wrong way with strategy.

He was very impressive in qualfying, missing out on Q3 by 0.118s as he ended up P12. Sauber generally looked more competitive as Zhou Guanyu also took a step forward after a chassis change, making Q2 and finishing P13.

“It seemed this weekend, the slow, medium-speed corners, we were quite strong, but we’re definitely lacking a bit in the high-speed corners.

“Still overall performance, if I look at the recent events, we seem in a better place. Zhou (Guanyu) had a decent strategy; he was 13th, so definitely got better results than in the previous weekends in qualifying and in the race.”

The Circuit De Barcelona-Catalunya is a very quick circuit that exposed the Sauber C44’s lack of downforce and deficiencies in fast turns.

Photo Credit: Sauber

The Swiss team’s two-stop strategy with Bottas deployed a new set of soft tyres before pitting 11 laps into the race for used soft rubber. The 34-year-old ran the more durable hard tyre from lap 28 until the chequered flag.

Bottas was one of just two drivers to run two sets of soft tyres in the opening couple of stints, alongside Sergio Perez, who slumped to eighth place for Red Bull.

The Finn said the main problem was running another set of soft tyres midway through the race. They grained and he lost places to Guanyu and the Astons before his final stop. Ricciardo passed him late in the day.

“I think the main thing was the soft tyre in the second stint. We thought it could be the tyre today, but it wasn’t. It started to degrade and it degraded a lot.

“We had to stop early, and then the last stint it was just too long. I had to do lots of management. I couldn’t really use the pace.”

Sauber is the only team yet to score this season after taking a step back in performance and suffering from slow pit stops.

They will hope for improvement this weekend at Red Bull Ring, where the third of six Sprint races this season will be held.