Williams F1’s Valtteri Bottas has had an eventful weekend in Baku already and the race hasn’t even run yet. The Finn had a dangerous moment when a drain cover came off the track damaging his car. The Finn says the situation was unacceptable telling AUTOSPORT:
“It’s not acceptable at all that these kind of things still happen,” said Bottas.
“It’s not the first drain cover in F1 that has come loose, and luckily it was in the pitlane.
“I felt it when I was on it and it hit the car. Seeing the replay, I think the marshals were quite lucky.”
Bottas also had a tussle with Plucky Teen Max Verstappen during qualifying with the two passing each other on hot laps and for Valtteri’s position, he wasn’t clear on what the Red Bull driver was doing telling Motorsport:
“I thought, and the team thought, that Verstappen was on a double out lap, as they had been doing all weekend,” explained Bottas.
“I got the confirmation of that myself when exiting Turn 16. I saw his ERS lights flashing, so he was not in the [engine] mode yet. I was trying to get a good gap so I could get a nice slipstream to the lap and open the lap, but then he pulled away in Turn 19.
“So I found out at Turn 19/20 that maybe he was going for the lap and at that place you cannot back off any more as you lose all the straight line speed. So I thought the only option for me was to try to overtake.
“But it ruined his lap but also my lap. I got some dirt on my tyres and I don’t even call that a lap – there was a lap time on the board that put me for P8.
“Then the second run I had the red flag with Lewis. I went out again after the red flag, but I don’t think the lap would have been mega.
“I felt with the tyres we lost quite a bit of temperature with the red flag, and there was just a bit of traffic. Everyone was trying to gain a track position and opening the lap I knew there was probably not much time left, so I didn’t have time to leave a proper gap to Verstappen.
“Again I saw my only opportunity was to try to fight for the track position and try to overtake, but I couldn’t do it again. Again it ruined my lap and his lap.
“I think it was really unlucky – and I was driven into really difficult decisions and situations today. Not my day at all.”
The young Dutchman wasn’t impressed saying:
“It was just not clever, I think,” said the Dutchman. “I am preparing for my timed lap and I understand he wants a tow, but I think there was not one point he was able to overtake me and brake in a normal position.
“I lose my lap and he also destroys his lap, so I can understand it happens once – that the top speed is not too bad, there is no chance to do this. But to do it again in Q3… I don’t get it.
Asked whether Bottas would be penalised, Verstappen said: “I don’t see a penalty – but it was dangerous what he was doing. Dangerous, and unnecessary and not clever.”
It’s been a tough weekend and with his teammate sitting in 5th on the grid and he starts 8th, it’s not been a weekend to write home about so far.