TIL: Valtteri Bottas Went Out on Mismatched Tyres


Now racing for the Mercedes team and a win in the opening race of the 2019 season, Valtteri Bottas is riding on a high. However, back in his Williams days, things were not so rosy for the Finnish driver.

He made his Formula One debut in 2013 for Williams, at a time when they were stuck around the midfield. He was even present during the Martini days and bagged his maiden podium in 2014.

He went on to take five more podiums that year and finished 4th in the standings. A year later, he finished 5th in the championship following two podiums. However, that year also witness one of the biggest and most embarrassing goof-ups in Formula One.

At the Belgian Grand Prix, Bottas dived into the pits for a routine stop and was on his way again. However, a message soon came through from the FIA for the Finn, “Drive Through Penalty for Car 77 for incorrect tyres.”

Valtteri Bottas
Williams tyre blunder. Image courtesy of F1 official.

It later transpired that owing to a mix-up, Bottas was sent out on three soft tyres and one medium tyre. 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. Meanwhile, teammate Felipe Massa ended up 6th in the race/

Valtteri Bottas was furious to miss out on what could have been an easy podium