Formula 1

Bottas Handed Three-Place Grid Penalty for Free Practice Pit Lane Spin

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Credit: Sebastian Kawka

Valtteri Bottas will drop three places on the grid for this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix after stewards deemed his spin in the pit lane during practice on Friday afternoon was dangerous driving.

The Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver lost control of his W12 as he pulled away from his pit box, with the Finn spinning and coming to a halt just outside the pit box of the McLaren F1 Team.

Luckily, no one from McLaren were in a position to get hurt, and they even assisted Bottas to get back facing the right way, although the team did radio in a message to the stewards about the incident claiming it was ‘ridiculous’.

Stewards immediately put the incident under investigation, and after the session, it was announced that Bottas would serve a three-place grid penalty and take two penalty points on his Superlicence.

It was revealed that Mercedes were attempting something different in Austria to try and make time up exiting the pit box, and as a result it was classed as ‘potentially dangerous driving’.

“When Bottas pulled away from his designated pit stop position, he lost control of the car when he turned into the fast lane,” said the FIA statement. “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. Therefor 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 pitlane.”

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