Valtteri Bottas has been handed a three-place grid penalty for dangerously spinning in the pit lane during second practice at the Styrian Grand Prix.
The Finn was pulling away from his pit box after switching to a new set of hard tires during FP2, and in lighting up the rears he lost control, overcorrecting and spinning sideways so he was facing the McLaren mechanics stood outside their garage.
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With Bottas only able to manage a half-turn in the pit lane, those McLaren mechanics then pushed him back (pictured above) to allow him to complete his recovery, but at the same time the team’s sporting director Paul James was on the radio to FIA race director Michael Masi.
“Michael that’s absolutely ridiculous, he could have taken our guys out there, and the pit wall,” James said.
“Agree,” Masi replied, before the incident was confirmed as under investigation.
The stewards duly handed Bottas a three-place grid penalty and two penalty points, describing the incidents as “dangerous driving in the pit lane” after he lost control.
“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’ decision read. “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 wheelspin was much higher and the result unexpected. Therefore 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.”
The penalty points are the first two that Bottas has received in the 12-month period.