Now racing for Mercedes team since Nico Rosberg’s sudden retirement at the end of 2016 season, Valtteri Bottas is riding on a high currently. 2019 was his best season so far and he will look to continue this run of form in 2020 as well. However, back in his Williams F1 days, things were not so rosy for the Finnish driver.
This particular incident is by far the most embarrassing thing that the team would have done, even including the dead 2019 season. It was the Belgian Grand Prix of the 2013 season and Williams were being driven by Valtteri Bottas and a certain Pastor Maldonado. Like is the usual norm, the Finnish driver dived into the pits for a routine stop and was on his way again after a quick stop. However, a message soon came through from the FIA for the Finn, “Drive Through Penalty for Car 77 for incorrect tyres.”
This was the first time in the many years that a driver was being penalised for a such a thing. Fans were left confused and so were every other team and driver involved in the race. Williams had made the epic goof up of sending out Bottas with three soft tire and one medium tire. At that time, the soft tyres were identified with a yellow band and the medium was identified with a white band. So, in essence, Bottas was racing on one white tyre and three yellow tyres.
The poor man not only had to pit for a fresh set of correct tyres, he also had to serve a drive-through penalty as well. As if things could not get any worse, he squandered a perfectly good qualifying position of P3. What could have been a surefire podium, ultimately ended up with a measly 9th place and two points.
Teams have been known to screw their drivers thoroughly through strategy or otherwise, but this was unprecedented. Back during those days, Williams were a decent midfield player. Things turned for the better for them when in 2014, they became front runners with Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa at the wheel and a strong Mercedes terrain at their back. Their topsy turvy journey continued and now they see themselves a whole category behind the rest of the field.