Bottas penalty: I’ll take it, you can pass at Spa

Michelle Foster
Valtteri Bottas blurred

Valtteri Bottas blurred

Valtteri Bottas says he will “take” his Belgian GP grid penalty on the chin as not only was he to blame for the Hungarian crash, but Spa is a track where drivers can pass.

Bottas caused chaos and carnage on the opening lap of the Hungarian Grand Prix as the Finn, who had been bogged down at the start and lost positions, rear-ended Lando Norris into Turn 1.

That pushed the McLaren driver into Sergio Perez with Bottas also hitting the other Red Bull of Max Verstappen.

Norris, Perez and Bottas all retired with the McLaren driver questioning why Bottas would “risk doing those kind of stupid things” on a wet track.

The stewards ruled that Bottas was responsible for the crash, hitting him with a five-place grid penalty for the Belgian Grand Prix.

It is a penalty that Red Bull team boss Christian Horner feels is too lenient, as Bottas in a Mercedes could make that up in “two laps”.

The Finn himself reckons it is not the end of the world.

“I’ll take it,” he said, “obviously it’s not ideal, but at least in the next race it is possible to overtake so it’s not like the weekend is over.

“It’s just going to make it more difficult but if that’s the decision, that’s what it is.”

The Mercedes driver, while acknowledging that the entire mess was his doing, has explained his actions.

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“Obviously my mistake,” he said to Autosport. “I was the one coming from behind, and it’s up to me to brake early enough.

“But I misjudged the braking point. It shows it’s not so easy in those conditions to brake, but I should have braked earlier.

“When I started braking I was closing in, and then I locked the wheels and I hit Lando and that caused the whole mess.

“It was hard to judge where to brake. And when I did, I quite quickly noticed it was too late and then after that, there’s nothing you can do.

“Just calculating the braking point, trying to figure out how much grip you have, it’s not easy.”

The Finn tried to justify his mistake, saying he was distracted by Norris passing him while the spray also didn’t help.

“Possibly a little bit,” he said. “You lose a little bit the sense of where you actually compared to Turn 1.

“But that’s racing, and I should have braked earlier.

“It is hard with the spray and not exactly knowing how much grip there is, especially when you are right behind someone you lose quite a bit of grip.”