Veteran driver Valtteri Bottas guides Alfa Romeo to a new level

Bottas Alfa Romeo
Dan Istitene / Getty Images

After five years with Mercedes as a teammate to Lewis Hamilton Valtteri Bottas joined Alfa Romeo to replace Kimi Raikkonen in 2022. As the season draws to a close and Formula 1 comes to America for the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas with four rounds remaining, he reflected on his role as a mentor to a new driver on the circuit and in guiding the team to another level.

“It’s been quite natural,” Bottas told NBC Sports ahead of the weekend activities. “It was always going to be at some point in my career that I’m the older guy in the team.

“Teaming up with [Guanyu Zhou] has been pretty natural for him to ask for advice. I try to help him where I can. I think we’ve been working really well together. For me it’s been nice to be in the role of being the more experienced driver and to have a bit of a bigger say in the team when it comes to certain technical things.”

Bottas will close out the 2022 season with his 200th start in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, making him just the 21st driver to achieve that goal and placing him fifth among active drivers.

Ten wins and 67 podium finishes ensure Bottas has a place in the record books, but even though he is not competing for a sixth consecutive top-five finish in the Drivers’ Championship, the challenges this season are no less meaningful. Bottas currently sits 10th in the standings, 19 behind Fernando Alonso and 14 ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

A rough offseason of testing created modest expectations for Bottas and Alfa Romeo.

“It took a little time, but we had the whole winter to prepare,” Bottas said. “I would say [there was] less pressure [than expected], because when I joined the team, the aim was to be successful in the years to come and not overnight. It wasn’t urgent.

“It feels like there’s a nice working pace in a way. It’s a less pressure environment. We’re aiming to be good in the long term. Obviously in this sport there is always some. It feels like nowadays maybe it’s from my side because I want to succeed.”

Bottas was responsible for lifting much of the pressure off his own shoulders. He earned points in seven of the first nine rounds of 2022. One of the races in which he failed to score points for Alfa Romeo ended in the garage with overheating issues in Saudi Arabia. He finished outside the points by one position in Azerbaijan.

MORE: Sergio Perez enters COTA with a shot to give Red Bull Racing another 1-2 finish

“The start of the year was really strong,” Bottas said. “I think we were even a little surprised by the performance, because we had a pretty difficult winter as far as testing. It didn’t go as smoothly as we were hoping. Then being able to consistently score big points was great and a bit surprising.

“But then as the season has been going forward, we’ve faced quite a few issues with reliability, some from our side, some from the engine manufacturer side. We’ve also had a few unlucky races.

“It feels like we’re now getting closer again, we got some new updates in the race in Japan two weeks ago. The weather was pretty crazy on Sunday It wasn’t really representative of us, but we were pretty close in qualifying, in the top 10 again, and then again here with some further improvements to the car I think we’re going to be in the mix again.”

Bottas and Alfa Romeo have not scored points since the Canadian GP in June, but he came close twice with 11th-place finishes, including two rounds ago in the Singapore GP.

“In F1 you have to always be focused on the [individual] driver as well,” Bottas said. “Personally, I always want to perform at the highest level and be the best that I can. But at the same time, it is a project for us to get closer to the top over the years. There’s definitely a higher focus on the team performance now than the individual.”

More encouragingly, COTA has been a great track for him. Bottas won the 2019 United States GP and has results of sixth or better in his last four starts there. Add a pair of top-10s in his first two attempts and expectations are high.

Supercross 2023: Results and points after Seattle


The final results from the Monster Energy Supercross race in Seattle suggests the season is turning into a two-rider battle as Eli Tomac scored his sixth win of the season to tie Cooper Webb for the points’ lead and Chase Sexton crashed in yet another race.

Tomac downplayed the neck strain that caused him to lose the red plate for two weeks, but without that holding him back, it would appear it might have been a bigger problem than he admitted. Despite finishing on the podium in Detroit, Tomac has not shown the late-race strength everyone has come to expect. He was in a slump after scoring a season-worst in Indianapolis and described his sixth win as a “bounce back”.

With this win, Tomac tied James Stewart for second on the all-time list with 50 career Supercross victories. Six rounds remain and there is no sign that Tomac is slowing down. Jeremy McGrath’s 72 wins remains untouchable, for the moment at least.

RESULTS: Click here for full 450 Overall Results; Click here for 250 Overall Results

Cooper Webb was disappointed with second-place, but he recognized the Supercross results at Seattle could have been much worse. He rode in fifth for the first nine laps of the race, behind Tomac and Sexton. When Sexton crashed from the lead and Tomac took the top spot, Webb knew he could not afford to give up that many points and so he dug deep and found enough points to share the red plate when the series returns in two weeks in Glendale, Arizona for a Triple Crown event.

Justin Barcia scored his third podium of the season, breaking out of a threeway tie of riders who have not been the presumed favorites to win the championship. Barcia scored the podium without drama or controversy. It was his fourth consecutive top-five and his 10th straight finish of eighth or better.

Click here for 450 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier | Lap Chart

Jason Anderson kept his perfect record of top-10s alive with a fourth-place finish. Tied for fourth in the standings and 49 out of the lead, his season has been like a death of a thousand cuts. He’s ridden exceptionally well, but the Big Three have simply been better.

Sexton rebounded from his fall to finish fifth. He entered the race 17 points out of the lead and lost another five in Seattle. Mistakes have cost Sexton 22 points in the last three races and that is precisely how far he is behind Tomac and Webb. Unless those two riders bobble, this deficit cannot overcome.

The rider who ties Anderson for fourth in the points, Ken Roczen finished just outside the top five in sixth after he battled for a podium position early in the race.

Click here for 450 Overall results | Rider Points | Manufacturer Points

The 250 West riders got back in action after four rounds of sitting on the sideline and Jett Lawrence picked up where he left of: in Victory Lane. Lawrence now has four wins and a second-place finish in five rounds. One simply doesn’t get close to perfection than that.

Between them, the Lawrence brothers have won all but two races though 11 rounds. Jett failed to win the Anaheim Triple Crown and Hunter Lawrence failed to win the Arlington Triple Crown format in the 250 East division. In two weeks, the series has their final Triple Crown race in Glendale. When he was reminded of this from the top of the Seattle podium, Jett replied, “oof”.

Click here for 250 Heat 1 | Heat 2 | Last Chance Qualifier | Lap Chart

RJ Hampshire finished second in the race and is second in the points. This is fourth time in five rounds that Hampshire finished second to Lawrence. If not for a crash-induced 11th-place finish in the Arlington Triple Crown, he would be much closer in the points standings. With that poor showing, he is 23 points behind Lawrence.

Cameron McAdoo made a lot of noise in his heat. Riding aggressively beside Larwence, the two crashed in the preliminary. McAdoo could never seem to get away from Hampshire in the Main and as the two battled, the leader got away. It would have been interesting to see how they would have raced head-to-head when points were on the line.

Click here for 250 Overall results | 250 West Rider Points | 250 Combined Rider Points

The Supercross results in Seattle were kind to a couple of riders on the cusp of the top five. Enzo Lopes scored his second top-five and fourth top-10 of the season after crossing the finish line fourth in Seattle.

Tying his best finish of the season for the third time, Max Vohland kept his perfect record of top-10s alive. Vohland is seventh in the points.

2023 Results

Round 11: Eli Tomac bounces back with sixth win
Round 10: Chace Sexton wins, penalized
Round 9: Ken Roczen wins
Round 8: Eli Tomac wins 7th Daytona
Round 7: Cooper Webb wins second race
Race 6: Eli Tomac, Jett Lawrence win
Race 5: Webb, Hunter Lawrence win
Race 4: Tomac, H Lawrence win
Race 3: Chase Sexton, Levi Kitchen win
Race 2: Tomac, J Lawrence win
Round 1: Tomac, J Lawrence win

2023 SuperMotocross Power Rankings

Week 10: Chase Sexton leads with consistency
Week 8: Chase Sexton unseats Eli Tomac
Week 7: Jason Anderson narrowly trails Tomac
Week 6: Perfect Oakland night keeps Tomac first
Week 5: Cooper Webb, Sexton close gap
Week 4: Tomac retakes lead
Week 3: Ken Roczen takes the top spot
Week 2: Roczen moves up; Sexton falls
Week 1: Tomac tops 450s; Jett Lawrence 250s