Bottas penalised for pit lane spin

Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas has been slapped with a three-place grid penalty for this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix following an unusual incident in practice.

The Mercedes driver spun exiting his pit box during Free Practice 2 last night.

He later downplayed the moment as a result of trying something different and declared he would be “surprised” if it brought a sanction.

The stewards have taken a different view, viewing it as “potentially dangerous driving” and subsequently handing him two penalty points on his licence in addition to the grid penalty for Sunday’s race at the Red Bull Ring.

“When [Bottas] pulled away from his designated pit stop position he lost control of the car when he turned into the fast lane,” read the stewards’ report.

“He oversteered, spun and came to a stop across the fast lane near the McLaren pits.

“During the hearing [Bottas] 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.”

Bottas’ penalty is a blow to Mercedes as the championship-winning outfit strives to rescue its form slide comparative to title rivals Red Bull.

Red Bull ace Max Verstappen was quickest in practice, just ahead of McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo.

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