Valtteri Bottas says he intends to hold a discussion with Logan Sargeant about the collision that took the Alfa Romeo driver out of the Japanese Grand Prix.
Bottas, who lined up 16th for Sunday’s race after another Q1 elimination in qualifying, immediately picked up damage when he got sandwiched between Esteban Ocon and Alex Albon, sending the Williams airborne and leaving the Finn with a puncture.
The ex-Mercedes racer has attributed blame to Ocon for the incident, contending that the Alpine failed to afford him enough space.
“Actually I had a pretty decent start off the line, and then I was between two cars and the car on the right started to drift towards me and, in the end, didn’t leave any space and we collided,” he noted.
“I was in the middle of the two cars and I can’t disappear from there, especially going at full gas. I don’t know if the car on the right saw me, [or] knew [if] I was there, but we collided. So, I had a puncture on Lap 1.
Bottas’ team-mate, Zhou Guanyu, also sustained damage to his car from the resulting debris, ensuring that both Alfa Romeo cars required servicing.
“We had to stop both cars at the same time and we also had to change the nosecone, so, yes, it was a bit messy,” he added.
While a Safety Car had enabled both Alfa Romeos to latch on to the back of the pack, Bottas was then sent spinning into the gravel at the Turn 11 hairpin by Sargeant.
Bottas had been attempting to overtake around the outside of the cambered corner when the American rookie locked up and clattered into the side of the Alfa Romeo.
“It clearly wasn’t meant to be today, for me,” he rued. “I tried to overtake him around the outside, I thought I left him plenty of space but I think he locked up and then he took me out. Unlucky.”
Despite continuing again, Alfa Romeo elected to swiftly retire the car following Bottas’ admission that it had become “undrivable” after two hefty bouts of contact.
“Yes, there was too much damage,” he disclosed. “It felt like something in the suspension but on the diffuser. Plus, there was a big hole on the sidepod, so it was not clearly my day. It was clearly undrivable at that point. A bit unlucky.”
Pressed on if he plans to talk to Sargeant about the incident, Bottas replied: “Yes, maybe I’ll have a word with him, to figure out what he was thinking about. It could be it was just a mistake.”
Bottas was able to put an end to Alfa Romeo’s five-race barren run without a point at the Italian Grand Prix earlier this month, but the Italian marque remains rooted to ninth place in the Constructors’ standings.
However, the 10-time race winner insists he is excited about the remaining six rounds.
“I’m always looking forward to all the races, so, of course, it’s going to be nice to be in Qatar and, later on, also in Las Vegas,” he concluded. “Now, first, we need to reset before we move on to the next race.”
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