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Valtteri Bottas

Bottas on close Zhou battle: I don't feel I've gone backwards

Valtteri Bottas admits that his battle with Alfa Romeo teammate Zhou Guanyu has become more closely fought in 2023, and the Finn has given his take on the main reason behind this.

Zhou Bottas Brazilian GP 2022 Alfa Romeo
To news overview © XPBimages

Valtteri Bottas does not believe that going "backwards" is the reason behind his increasingly close fight with Formula 1 teammate Zhou Guanyu.

Bottas and Zhou are now into their second season together at Alfa Romeo, with Zhou arriving as a rookie in 2022 while Bottas joined the squad after five years at Mercedes.

While Bottas outscored the Chinese driver by 43 points in that campaign, Zhou looks to be posing more of a challenge so far in 2023.

When asked by RacingNews365.com if the battle is tighter with Zhou this year, Bottas answered: "Yeah, definitely."

But, when quizzed further on the reasons behind this, the Finn suggested that it was owing to Zhou's progress rather than his own struggles.

Bottas on Zhou battle

"I don't feel like I've gone backwards," Bottas explained.

"I feel like he's improved. Obviously, last year was his rookie season and when the car was good last year, that's when he had his first races.

"I was scoring bigger points, so he's definitely made a better step forward, no doubt. So we're definitely more evenly matched."

It has been a challenging start to the season for Alfa Romeo, with the team appearing to slip backwards in the competitive midfield battle.

Bottas does not feel that there has been a particular pattern behind their struggles and believes that the factors have varied at each race weekend.

"[There has been] no clear pattern," the 10-time race winner said.

"For sure, pure performance is not quite there. But I don't know, it's hard to say.

"I hope it's a bit track dependent, but it is so close."

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