Valtteri Bottas Aims a Thinly-Veiled Dig at McLaren F1 for His Styrian GP Grid Penalty

Published 06/27/2021, 5:56 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – French Grand Prix – Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France – June 19, 2021 Third placed Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas during the press conference after qualifying FIA/Handout via REUTERS


Even after achieving P2 in the qualifying, Valtteri Bottas will start the Styrian GP fifth after a grid penalty by FIA. The Finnish driver reveals the ‘harsh’ penalty is a consequence of rival teams complaining to the officials.

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During FP2, Bottas was leaving the pits on fresh hard tires. Unfortunately, lost control of his car and stop across the fast lane near the McLaren pits. As a result, the Finn diver received a three-place grid penalty from the stewards ahead of Styrian GP.

Luckily no one was harmed in the incident and McLaren was quick to lend a helping hand to Bottas who stuck in front of the Woking-based team garage. But soon after McLaren team’s manager Paul James brought the incident to the attention of  FIA race director Michael Masi over the radio.

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What did Valtteri Bottas say?

Speaking at the post-qualifying drivers’ conference, Bottas opined the penalty was “quite harsh” and that other teams jumped at the opportunity of gaining an advantage over him.

“My personal view is [that it’s] quite harsh,” he said.

“I never imagined after that there would be a penalty but of course, other teams, when they see the opportunity, they complained that it was dangerous, etc so that we would get penalized.

Formula One F1 – French Grand Prix – Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France – June 18, 2021. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas during practice REUTERS/Eric Gaillard.

“That’s how it goes, so everyone is always trying to screw you over in this sport.”

Toto Wolff unhappy with Bottas’ punishment

For the first time this season, F1 teams can radio message FIA race director Michael Masi, and Toto Wolff was quick to take a dig at the after-effects of Bottas’ spin.

“It’s highly entertaining how quickly some sporting directors jump on the channel to Masi and come with Armageddon scenarios.” said the Mercedes team principal.

Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Styria, Austria – June 25, 2021. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas in action during practice REUTERS/Lisi Niesner.

“I find it harsh, particularly against someone like Valtteri who’s never putting a foot wrong. He was very honest and straightforward with his explanation,” said Wolff, after Bottas revealed that Mercedes tried something new to reduce time in the pit departure.

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However they feel about the penalty, the fact of the matter is that Bottas will start the race in P5. Max Verstappen will start from pole, followed by his archrival and Valtteri’s teammate, Lewis Hamilton, who will accompany him on the first row. Behind them will be Lando Norris, who moved up from P4 to P3, thanks to Bottas’ penalty.

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Do you think the Finn can fight his way up the order? Let us know in the comments.

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Pingaksh Sharma

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