SPIELBERG, Austria — Valtteri Bottas has received a three-place grid penalty at the Austrian Grand Prix after spinning in the pit lane following a routine tyre change during second practice.
Bottas spun as he crossed the painted line that divides the pit boxes and the pit lane, leaving his car parked across the flow of traffic. He managed to avoid a collision with the pit wall, but had to be pushed back in the right direction by nearby mechanics from rival team McLaren.
Soon after the incident, McLaren’s team manager, Paul James, raised his concerns about the incident in a radio message to the FIA race director, Michael Masi.
“Michael, that’s absolutely ridiculous,” James said. “They could have taken out one of the guys [mechanics] or the pit wall.”
The stewards summoned Bottas to a hearing 20 minutes after the session and deemed the incident to be an example of “dangerous driving”, issuing a three-place penalty and two penalty points on Bottas’ superlicence.
“When Bottas pulled away from his designated pit stop position, he lost control of the car when he turned into the fast lane,” the stewards said in a statement issued to the media.
“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 pit lane.”
Asked to explain the incident to the media after the session, Bottas said: “Yeah, I spun.
“We tried something different coming out of the box and there were some variables compared to what I normally do and that’s why I spun.”