Valtteri Bottas handed 3 place grid penalty for pitlane spin

© Sebastian Kawka for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix ltd.

Valtteri Bottas spun while pulling out of his pit box during FP2, and ultimately ended up pointing towards the McLaren garage.

After the incident, the Finn told his engineer it was a tyre warm-up issue. The McLaren team helped Bottas turn the car around, but afterwards McLaren team manager Paul James complained to race director Michael Masi.

“Michael, that’s absolutely ridiculous,” said James.

“He could have taken our guys out there, and on the pit wall.”

Masi acknowledged the message: “Agree, thank you.”

Race control then announced that the incident would be investigated after the session, and Bottas and Mercedes were summoned to explain their side of the story.

“I spun, we tried something different getting out from the box,” Bottas explained afterwards.

“That was just some variables to what we normally do with the wheel spin, so that’s why I spun.”

The Finn also said he “would be surprised” if any action is taken by the stewards.

“It’s a normal mistake, it happens. I’m sure they just want to understand what happened really.”

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However, the stewards have ultimately deemed the incident was in breach of Article 27.4 of the FIA F1 Sporting Regulations, and the Finn has been handed a three-place gird penalty and two penalty points.

“During the hearing BOT [Bottas] stated that in the past they have been losing time in the pit departure,” read a statement from the stewards.

“So they tried something new, which was to leave in second gear. As a result, the wheel spin was much higher and the result unexpected. Therefore he didn’t manage to control the car properly into the fast lane.

“This has to be considered as potentially dangerous driving, especially as personnel were around in the pit lane.”

Going back to Free Practice 2, Valtteri finished the session in P12, but he says that the result is not a true representation of Mercedes’ pace.

“Practice one felt overall a bit better but practice two, we just had the one run with the lower fuel level and that was a bit messy so the lap time on the board was nothing amazing.

“The topic for today was to focus on the long runs, try to find the long-run performance. I think we are proud of our steps today and hopefully, that will pay off on Sunday,” concluded the Finn.

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