After being second with Mercedes for so long, Valtteri Bottas is enjoying his place as leader at Alfa Romeo.
The Finnish driver is in his second campaign with the Formula One team after being replaced by George Russell at Mercedes.
“I feel my role in this team is different from my role in Formula One,” Bottas admitted on Tuesday during the presentation of the black-and-red C43 car for 2023. ,
That was not always the case at Mercedes, a team with whom Bottas has at times felt pressured by Lewis Hamilton.
His tenure, in which he won just 10 races, ended after five seasons, and he was always second behind Hamilton – who won 50 races in that span and equaled a record seven world titles.
Bottas had some high points.
He showed good pace in qualifying and held firm against Hamilton, but on race day it was clear that he was second.
Now 33, he wants to help bring out the best in his teammate Zhou Guanyu, 23, who is also in his second season with Alfa Romeo.
“I tried to bring all my experience and technical knowledge that I had from the past and that work continued throughout the last year,” said Bottas. “It’s really an open position with the team and I’d love to know as much as possible, the details of the car and the setup direction that we have.
Bottas finished tenth last season. He had 38 points in the first six races, including a best finish of fifth at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, when he nearly passed Russell on the final lap for fourth.
The pre-season tests will be held in Bahrain from February 23 to 25 and the season will begin on March 5.