Valtteri Bottas has been ruled out of the Australian Grand Prix as a result of back problems that developed during qualifying.
The Finn started to feel discomfort when braking during the second segment of qualifying, and had to be helped from the car after completing Q3. He was subsequently sent to the medical center, before spending the night in hospital ahead of assessment on Sunday morning. As a result of the problems caused by a small tear in the annular part of a disc in his lower back, Bottas was deemed unfit to race.
This was after a final assessment by FIA medical delegate Jean-Charles Piette in the build-up to the race in Melbourne.
“Following the team’s earlier statement regarded the injury that Valtteri sustained to his lower back during yesterday’s qualifying session for the Australian Grand Prix, it can be confirmed that the scans revealed that Valtteri has a very small tear in the annular part of a disc in his lower back.” read a Williams statement. “Valtteri has since been evaluated by the FIA’s medical team and following a series of tests, the FIA medical delegate has deemed Valtteri unfit to take part in this afternoon’s race.
“The team respect the FIA’s decision and will now work with Valtteri ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix to ensure he receives the treatment required to get him back to full fitness.”
Bottas was due to start the race from sixth on the grid.
Teams are unable to put a reserve driver into the car at this stage of the weekend, meaning that third-placed Felipe Massa will be the team’s sole representative.