In the later stages of the Austrian Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton received a five second penalty for his contact with Alex Albon. This meant that the second-placed Hamilton had to try and close the five second gap as much as possible, if he wanted to neutralize the penalty.
However both drivers were under instruction to stay off the kerbs due to possible gearbox issues and Bottas even dropped his pace by 2.5 seconds in his penultimate lap. The Finn says this was not done on purpose to hold up Hamilton.
“When you’re in the lead you of course want to minimise any risk,” said Bottas.
“And you obviously have to slow down at least half a second and ideally more for double yellows. So I did that.
“And then I also knew that there’s going to be an opportunity to try and go for the fastest lap of the race, which would be silly not to, even though we couldn’t use the kerbs, but at least to try within the limits. So I was charging the pack as well.”
In the end Hamilton finished the race in P4, although some are speculating he could have gotten at least P3, had he been given the space to push in the final few laps. However Hamilton himself dismissed any wrongdoing on the part of Bottas and now the Finn also confirms there is “no tension” between the two.
“There are incidents and unlucky events. And I’m sure you all know that in F1 many things can happen and sometimes things just go the way they go.
“And we just had a debrief, a very open talk about everything. We went through the race in terms of my point of view and Lewis’s point of view and the team’s point of view, and there is no tension that I’m aware of.
“He is pretty experienced, Lewis, in this sport, so he knows things can happen. So no tension. But we had a good team result in the end. Obviously it could have been better, maybe.
“But we’re still leading the constructors’ and I won the race, so it could have been a lot worse start to the season,” concluded Bottas.