Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas had his Italian Grand Prix ‘compromised’ following contact with Kevin Magnussen’s Haas car into Turn 1. He lost the end plate and going into antistall, the Finnish driver recovered by Turn 2 but found himself at the back of the field, after starting 15th on the grid.
Bottas said to MotorLAT and other media outlets that his race was, “compromised again, in Turn 1. I saw with the car after - I lost the whole front wing end plate with the contact, and also in Turn 1 I triggered this antistall on the engine with the contact which I only recovered after Turn 2, so that’s why I was at the back.
"When I landed, it [antistall] somehow triggered and it took a while to recover. So I need to have a look.
"It was not easy to come through, but I kind of made the most out of it in the end."
The pack concertinaed into Turn 1, and it appeared the Alfa Romeo driver tapped the back of Magnussen. In turn, Mick Schumacher made contact with Bottas from behind, but the damage had already been done on the Alfa Romeo’s front wing.
"I think it was Kevin, and somebody touched me from behind," said the Finn about the incident.
The team didn’t make a front wing change at the pit stop despite Bottas feeling a difference in how the car was handling:
“Yes, [it] felt like I was sliding quite a bit more. Which is not ideal."
On the pace of the car, Bottas said it was okay. More importantly, teammate Zhou Guanyu got a point.
“It was ok - we had one car in the top 10. It was better than the last three events.”
Head of trackside engineering at Alfa Romeo, Xevi Pujolar, was asked by MotorLAT about the early contact between Bottas and Magnussen, and if the damage spoiled the rest of the race:
“We picked up some damage on the front wing and then we were considering if we want to box or not just to change the front wing, but then we decided to continue.
“We compensated at the pit stop but obviously the pace was good enough to stay there, see if there was a Safety Car or something. But yes, the answer is, we picked up damage on the unfortunate incident because Magnussen slowed down in the middle of Turn 1 and then he [Bottas] hit Kevin and then he got hit by I think it was Mick, as well from behind.
"We didn’t have any damage from that [Schumacher], but it also triggered some antistall and that’s why he lost so much time.”
When asked about the Safety Car in the closing laps of the Italian Grand Prix, as Daniel Ricciardo came to a stop in his McLaren car, it was the general consensus from the paddock that a Red Flag could have been thrown, and the last few laps then could have seen a sprint to the finish. Bottas was asked by the media about his thoughts on the benefits outweighing the negatives:
“I think it could have played into my hands because I had relatively fresh softs and would not have had to stop; Would’ve been interesting to do a few laps, but obviously understand the Red Flag everyone could’ve changed tyres, so it wouldn’t make a huge difference.”