Aston Martin not impressed with Alfa Romeo’s ‘borderline’ moves in Abu Dhabi

Guanyu Zhou running ahead of Sebastian Vettel under lights. Abu Dhabi November 20222 Credit: Alamy
Guanyu Zhou running ahead of Sebastian Vettel under lights. Abu Dhabi November 20222 Credit: Alamy

Mike Krack says some of the Alfa Romeo driver’s moves on his Aston Martin pairing were “borderline” in Abu Dhabi as the two teams went into the season finale haggling over sixth place.

It went to Alfa Romeo by virtue of Valtteri Bottas’ fifth-placed finish at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

Aston Martin lined up on the Yas Marina grid five points behind Alfa Romeo and with everything to play for as fifth versus sixth in the Constructors’ Championship is worth about $10 million.

Although it was the AMR22 that had the better pace, both in qualifying and the grand prix, Alfa Romeo went with a “very defensive” strategy with Bottas admitting the aim was to “play with the green cars”.

Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel still managed to score as they finished eighth and tenth respectively. But it wasn’t enough.

“I think we shouldn’t be frustrated,” Krack said as per Motorsport.com. “I think a great end of the season overall, it could also have balanced in the other direction.

“So I think frustration would now be not appropriate.

“For me they focussed completely on us. Some of the manoeuvres were a bit borderline, I think, but we were anticipating that this could happen.

“So upfront, we knew to be conservative when we passed them. And I think both drivers handled it pretty well.”

Vettel, though, was frustrated with the team for putting him onto a one-stop strategy, questioning “how did we get the strategy so wrong” as he lost positions to the two-stoppers.

He later said the team had thrown away P6, telling the media including PlanetF1: “We were going backwards. I was really trying, I gave it all I could.

“It would have been great for the team to get the sixth in the Constructors’ Championship, but we sort of threw that away with the strategy we chose.”

Krack has defended the decision.

“It was a close call between one and two before the race,” said the team boss.

“You see also after the race, some people have done one, some people have done two, Ricciardo has also done one stop. So I think at the end of the day, we try to maximise the chances.

“And we didn’t look at Alfa Romeo. And I understand that Sebastian was a little bit frustrated there, because he saw his team-mate then coming who was on a different strategy.”

The team had hoped he could pounce on Daniel Ricciardo in the closing laps but it was not to be, Vettel crossing the line 0.6s behind the McLaren driver.

“This is also one of the reasons why you want to hang out a bit longer on the first things, because it gives you a bigger tyre delta towards the end of the race to make the passes that are needed if you run on a different strategy than others,” Krack said.

“That is always the problem you’re having. It went according to plan let’s say, but you lose a second here, you lose second there, and that’s the cut, that you’re not in front of any of them.

“So from that point of view, I think he was not miles off Lance at the end of the day, but probably the two-stop was the better strategy for us.”

Read more: ‘Aston Martin’s annoying strategy cost Sebastian Vettel best of the rest’

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