Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas has been hit with a three-place grid drop for Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix, after he span his car in the pit lane during the closing minutes of Free Practice 2.
When Bottas pulled away from his designated pit stop position, he lost control of the car when he turned into the fast lane. He oversteered, spun and came to a stop across the fast lane near the McLaren pits. The Woking-based outfit’s personnel helped get the Finnish driver pointing the right way again.
Speaking to the media after the afternoon practice, Bottas revealed that his team was experimenting with different setting which led to his spin.“I would be surprised if there is [any penalty]. It’s a normal mistake, it happens, but yes, I’m sure they’ll understand what happened.
“I spun. We tried something different getting out from the box and yes, there were some variables to what we normally do with the wheelspin and that’s why I spun,” the Finn concluded.
Although the Finn did not expect any penalties, the FIA race stewards penalized Bottas for the incident which will see the Finn earn a three-place grid drop for Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix.
During the hearing, the Nastola-born driver stated that „in the past they have been losing time in the pit departure. 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,” read the FIA statement.