‘Chopper footage shows Bottas hit Leclerc’

Date published: August 7 2019

Valtteri Bottas says he's "gutted" after losing out on victory in Monza.

Valtteri Bottas can be as unhappy as he wants about the contact with Charles Leclerc in Hungary, however, Michael Masi says footage shows it was actually the Finn’s fault.

Bottas’ Hungarian Grand Prix, a race in which he desperately needed to shine in order to secure his Mercedes future, was undone by contact early in the grand prix.

The Finn’s front wing was damaged by Leclerc’s Ferrari with Bottas forced to pit for a new wing, falling to the very back of the field.

He recovered to P8 and later blamed Leclerc for what he saw as “unnecessary” contract.

He said: “I saw the onboards, and when I saw it from (Sebastian) Vettel’s onboard, it was pretty clear that I was just going straight ahead, he was on the right and he would have been, anyway, ahead of me before Turn 4, but suddenly he just swept across and for me it was too late to react.

“I mean, I love hard racing, that’s for sure, but that was just completely unnecessary. It compromised my race, he was lucky not to get a puncture, so that’s not how it should be.”

But while Bottas isn’t happy with Leclerc’s driving, FIA race director Masi says the blame actually belongs to the Mercedes driver.

“There is an element of the first-lap side of it, but there is also the other part that from what I saw, Bottas’ front wing hit Charles’ rear wheel, looking from the helicopter shot,” he told Autosport.

“So, there was nothing in it.”

However, told that onboard footage from Vettel’s car made it look as if Leclerc had swept across Bottas, as the Finn says he did, Masi said that video did not give a clear picture of what happened.

He explained: “I think the onboards distort it slightly, but once you get the helicopter shot then it was pretty clear.”

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