Australian GP: Valtteri Bottas awaits race day back pain decision

Valtteri Bottas's participation in the Formula 1 season-opening Australian Grand Prix will only be decided on after medical checks on Sunday morning, his Williams team has said

Australian GP: Valtteri Bottas awaits race day back pain decision

The Finn went to hospital having suffered back pain during qualifying, putting him in doubt for Sunday's race.

Williams performance chief Rob Smedley told journalists in the Melbourne paddock that it was too early to know if Bottas will be able to start the grand prix.

"The update will be tomorrow," said Smedley. "He's going back to his hotel to rest, so he's not being kept in hospital overnight.

"It's absolutely not for me to say [if he can race], that's for the medical people to say.

"He has to go through all the correct checks this evening and tomorrow.

"He has to get through this initial bit, get all the medical care and treatment and have the assessment tomorrow. Then we will know."

Smedley added that Bottas has never suffered similar problems in the past, and that he was in a lot of pain after qualifying.

"It's come out of the blue," he said. "[The medical people] will tell us what happened but to us there were no previous signs.

"He was in a great deal of pain and he managed to be three tenths off that little group in front of him, so he has done a really good job."

Bottas was complaining about the "bite" of his brakes during qualifying, and Smedley suspects that could have been related to his back problem.

"It's more than likely [to have had an effect] due to the fact that he was losing a bit of sensation in the part of his body that was imparting the load onto the brake pedal," he said.

"He wasn't getting the direct feedback they usually have, so it was difficult for him to gauge how hard he was pressing the pedal."

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