Belgian GP: Williams F1 team apologises for Bottas tyre mix-up

Williams has apologised to Valtteri Bottas following the pitstop blunder that potentially cost the Finn a top-four finish in Formula 1's Belgian Grand Prix

Bottas was forced to serve a drive-through penalty as his team incorrectly fitted a medium tyre to the right-rear wheel among a set of softs, leaving him ninth.

Williams's head of vehicle performance Rob Smedley could offer no valid explanation for what unfolded, but also is refusing to point any accusing fingers at those to blame.

"There are two things we should do - the first is apologise to Valtteri because obviously we absolutely ruined his race as he was there with Sebastian [Vettel] and [Romain] Grosjean before that happened," Smedley told Sky Sports.

"Secondly, what we shouldn't do is blame individuals. We need to go away as a group of people and look at what happened."

Asked by AUTOSPORT for his feelings on the incident, Bottas replied: "It's very disappointing, I've never heard of anything like this happening.

"But what can you do? For sure that cost us a lot, looking at the times in the end without that penalty we might have been fifth or something as I was at the front of that pack.

"But our pace was not enough to be top three, which was our aim, so it was not our day."

Bottas and team-mate Felipe Massa started from third and sixth on the grid, but could only finish sixth and ninth.

"We're massively disappointed with it," added Smedley.

"Unfortunately, the race didn't unfold for us very well right from the start. The starts themselves weren't great, wheelspin with both cars and we lost positions.

"The biggest issue we then had was the first stint pace. We couldn't get the pace out of the car, [due to the] front tyres graining more than likely, and that is what put us on the back foot.

"That's why we were passed so easily and fell back into the clutches of the sixth, seventh, eighth positions, or whatever it was.

"Then afterwards, when we pitted the pace was all right. I guess what we would have done differently is slightly different preparation for the front tyres on that first stint.

"That's what we need to address. We need to go away and understand what it is with our car that sometimes the front tyres don't work."

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