Bottas calls pitlane spin penalty "quite harsh" after McLaren complaint

Valtteri Bottas called his Formula 1 grid penalty for spinning in the pitlane "quite harsh" after McLaren's complaint, saying that "everyone is always trying to screw you over".

Bottas calls pitlane spin penalty "quite harsh" after McLaren complaint

Bottas spun his car while exiting Mercedes' pit box with 20 minutes remaining in second practice for the Styrian Grand Prix on Friday, briefly blocking the fast lane.

The nearby McLaren mechanics were quick to help turn Bottas' car around and allow him to head out on track, but the McLaren team manager swiftly lodged a complaint with FIA race director Michael Masi, calling the incident "ridiculous".

The stewards handed Bottas a three-place grid penalty for dangerous driving, with the Finn explaining that he had tried pulling away in second gear in a bid to reduce wheelspin.

Bottas led Mercedes' efforts in qualifying on Saturday, finishing second in Q3 ahead of team-mate Lewis Hamilton, but will drop to fifth on the grid because of his penalty.

Asked about the stewards' decision, Bottas said he did not expect to receive such a harsh penalty, but noted the competitive edge that rivals look to get in such situations.

"My personal view, it's quite harsh," Bottas said.

"I never imagined after that that there would be a penalty. But of course, other teams when there's equal opportunity, they complain that it's dangerous so we would get penalised.

"That's how it goes. Everyone is always trying to screw you over in this sport.

"For sure, it can be a dangerous situation if there are many people in the pitlane."

McLaren pit crew members attempt to assist Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, in the pit lane

McLaren pit crew members attempt to assist Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes W12, in the pit lane

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

The attempt at pulling away in second gear came as part of Mercedes' push to try and reduce wheelspin exiting the pits after identifying it as a contributing factor in the time lost to Max Verstappen in France last Sunday.

Bottas admitted that the spin "definitely caught me out" and that he "never imagined it would happen in the pitlane", explaining that it was harder to keep control when in second gear.

"We decided to try something different, launch with the second gear," Bottas said.

"Sometimes with a higher gear you have lower revs, and maybe you can manage to wheelspin but the initial part is not so aggressive. But then once I got the wheelspin, it really caught me out.

"I don't know, perhaps the line on the pitlane was still slightly damp from the drizzle. I just couldn't hold it.

"Obviously quite a different behaviour for second gear than first gear. So that happened."

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