Valtteri Bottas has apologised for his session-ending crash in Qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.
Bottas hit the wall on the exit of Turn 2 after running wide on to astroturf, still wet from this morning’s rain. The Finn caused considerable damage to the right hand side of his Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport W09 EQ Power+ and faces a grid drop of five places after terminal gearbox damage was discovered.
That means that Bottas will start from fifteenth after failing to set a time in the day’s final Qualifying phase, giving him plenty to do in the race tomorrow in order to score points.
“I think I was just pushing a bit too hard,” said a sheepish Bottas.
“I went wide in Turn 1 and the kerb was still a bit damp. I lost the rear of the car and hit the wall outside of Turn 2.”
Bottas was quick to offer his apologies to his team, who face a long job to repair the damaged chassis. On a more positive note, the 28-year-old believes that both he and Mercedes have pace to recover from the setback despite the limited overtaking opportunities around the Albert Park street circuit. Team-mate Lewis Hamilton took a dominant pole position to affirm his confidence.
“It’s very unfortunate,” he added. “And I feel sorry for the team because we have a really competitive car. It looked like it was damaged pretty badly, so I really hope we can fix it for the race.
“Overtaking is difficult on this track, but we’ll try everything we can. Maybe it’s a little easier this year with the added DRS zone, we’ll find out tomorrow. We have a good car, so I’ll try to fight back the best I can.
“Once we get the car in the window, it seems like it’s really quick, so that’s something positive from today.”