Oscar Piastri and Valtteri Bottas receive summons for dodgy qualifying incident

Thomas Maher
Oscar Piastri, McLaren, 2024 Miami Grand Prix.

Oscar Piastri and Valtteri Bottas are both off to see the stewards at the Miami Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas and Oscar Piastri are off to see the stewards in Miami following an on-track clash during the first part of Sprint Qualifying.

The two drivers encountered each other on track and ended up making contact in what was a very obvious misunderstanding of intentions.

Oscar Piastri and Valtteri Bottas clash in SQ1

During the first part of Sprint Qualifying, Bottas had just completed a flying lap when he slowed down as he approached Turn 1 and switched his car over to a lower energy setting.

Oscar Piastri, setting off on a flying lap just behind the Finn, tried to quickly overtake the Sauber driver into Turn 1, having already had his lap compromised by Bottas being ahead of him.

But the situation got even worse as Bottas seemed completely unaware of Piastri’s presence and turned into the corner. The two cars made contact, with Bottas just tapping his right-front corner against the sidepod of the McLaren with a significant speed difference.

Thankfully for both, the tap didn’t seem to result in damage, although Bottas was knocked out in SQ1 a few moments later having failed to set a time good enough to make it through.

Piastri did make it through on into SQ3 and wound up taking sixth on the grid for the Miami Grand Prix – a slightly understated result as both McLarens failed to unlock their potential as the soft tyre runs failed to match their medium tyre prowess.

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Stewards summon Valtteri Bottas and Oscar Piastri

Both drivers will now see the stewards due to an alleged breach of Article 33.4 of the FIA F1 Sporting Regulations, which states: “At no time may a car be driven unnecessarily slowly, erratically or in a manner which could be deemed potentially dangerous to other drivers or any other person.”

Following the incident, Piastri took to team radio to say “If that’s not a penalty, I don’t know what is”, while Bottas got on the radio to tell his new race engineer “That was too late, man, I had no idea”.

Bottas is racing with a new race engineer assigned to his side of the garage this weekend, with long-time race engineer Alex Chan replaced by Steve Petrik – leaving the Finn unimpressed by the sudden change as he hinted he had nothing to do with it.

“I think that’s more a question for the team. It was quite a sudden change,” he said in Thursday’s press conference.

“It’s a Sprint weekend so working with a fresh guy will be not easy, but [we’re] obviously trying to make the most out of it. He’s getting lots of support but, yeah, it’s quite a sudden change.

“I think it’s part of the reconstruction for the team. There’s some people leaving, some people joining, and obviously, many of those decisions are not in my hands.”

Qualifying 18th for Saturday’s Sprint race, Bottas reflected on his day behind the wheel.

“We made big changes in terms of balance after the practice session, and the car felt quite different; there has been somewhat of a track reset as well, and it felt like we were missing some grip,” he said.

“On top of that, we unfortunately got caught in traffic during my push lap. I went off track after a close encounter with a McLaren, and the tyres never really recovered their temperature after that.

“Tomorrow’s starting positions for the Sprint are definitely not ideal; there is still a lot we can learn about the car, though, and as it’s still early in the weekend, we can try and turn this around for Sunday’s main event.”

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