‘A bit of a strange one’: Bottas reveals how MGU-K issue led to speeding fine

Valtteri Bottas suffered yet more issues during practice for the Monaco Grand Prix on Friday.

Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas has quipped that he may just start rocking up to race weekends after practice following yet another issue in Monaco on Friday.

The Finn was unable to take any real part in the opening practice session of the season in Bahrain in March, before an issue in Imola a few weeks later scuppered any involvement at all in second practice for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

A problem during FP1 in Miami limited his running, and the problem caried over the FP2, where he was again confined to the garage.

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The 32-year-old could only manage three laps in the second hour in Barcelona last weekend before another problem befell him, and he completed one install lap in the first session in Monaco on Friday, sitting out the remainder of it with an MGU-K defect.

Bottas went back to the Alfa Romeo garage after his latest reliability snag, and shared an amusing joke with team principal Frederic Vasseur about sitting out Fridays altogether from now on.

“I told Fred already that for Baku I should maybe come on Friday night,” he told Motorsport.com.

“I mean, it’s unlucky. And another completely different issue, the MGU-K. 

“I think the same issue in the same session happened to Mick [Schumacher, who came to a halt at the pit entrance], but I don’t think there were any in FP2. I’m sure they’re on it. I don’t know the cause.

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“So not much we could do. I don’t think we can afford that many issues any more. And it’s still a long, long season to go. So let’s see.”

With running time so valuable in the Principality for the drivers to get their eye in, the Finn is hoping that he is able to get another clean hour on Saturday morning ahead of one of the most crucial qualifying sessions of the season.

“Definitely you need every lap, and it took a while in FP2 to get used to it, and I definitely was getting more and more comfortable each lap,” added Bottas.

“And also with the traffic here, it’s actually not that many clean laps that you get before the qualifying. So hopefully a clean FP3.”

Alfa Romeo were fined 1,000 euros after the former Mercedes driver was caught going at more than 16kph over the limit in the pit lane after his FP1 out lap, but Bottas divulged that, due to the MGU-K issue, he physically could not get the speed down.

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“I got a speeding fine because the MGU-K was still on,” he affirmed.

“I was on the limiter, but I couldn’t go slower. A bit of a strange one!”

Zhou Guanyu’s race in Spain last time out was ended early by a reliability failure, and he revealed that he suffered an issue with the brakes at the end of the first hour on Friday which, in the tight confines of the barriers, was particularly alarming.

“We had some brake failure at the end of FP1, which was scary,” said the 22-year-old.

“It was just after the tunnel, so I was quite lucky. That’s why we appeared delayed [in FP2]. Everything was fixed, and that session was quite smooth.”

Between them, Bottas and Zhou set 80 laps on Friday as Bottas went 13th fastest in FP2.