Bottas: everyone is always trying to screw you over

Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas has admitted his surprise at the three-place grid penalty that will see him start fifth in the Formula 1 Styrian Grand Prix.

The Finn was handed the grid drop following a spin in the pit lane during Free Practice 2 on Friday.

Leaving the pit box, Bottas lost the rear of his Mercedes, sliding to a halt in front of the McLaren garage.

Investigated after the session, officials elected to punish the 31-year-old for ‘potentially dangerous driving’, demoting him three grid places for Sunday’s race and slapping him with two penalty points on his license.

Speaking after qualifying second fastest, which will become fifth for the race start, Bottas admitted his surprise at the penalty.

“My personal view is [the penalty is] 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 complain that is dangerous, etc. so that we would get penalised.

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

“I mean, yes, for sure it can be a dangerous situation if there’s many people in the pit lane, but…”

The spin came in a largely empty lane, though a number of McLaren mechanics had gathered on the pit apron near the opening to their garage adjacent to where the Mercedes came to a stop.

Bottas had tried leaving his pit box in second gear, trying to avoid the excessive wheelspin the team experienced in Paul Ricard last weekend.

“Definitely caught me out,” he conceded.

“Never imagined that would happen on the pit lane.

“We decided to try something different, launch with a second gear, because sometimes with a high gear you have lower revs and maybe you can manage the wheel spin, or the initial part is not so aggressive.

“But then once I got the wheel spinning, that really caught me out.

“I don’t know, perhaps the line on the pit lane was still slightly down from the from the drizzle, I just couldn’t hold it.

“Obviously quite a different behaviour for the second gear than the first gear.”

With Bottas’ grid penalty, his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton will start the race from second, with Lando Norris third and Sergio Perez fourth.

The Formula 1 Styrian Grand Prix gets underway at 23:00 AEST tonight.

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