Bottas set for Melbourne gearbox change penalty after qualifying crash

Valtteri Bottas is set to drop a further five places down the Australian Grand Prix grid after Mercedes confirmed his qualifying crash has damaged his Formula 1 car's gearbox

Bottas set for Melbourne gearbox change penalty after qualifying crash

The Finn made an error at Turn 1 on his first run in Q3, bouncing across the kerbs and losing control as he rejoined the track before swiping the barriers on the right hand side of the track.

The damage to the car was extensive and, although investigations by Mercedes after qualifying confirmed the chassis did not need replacing, his gearbox can no longer be used so a new one will need to be fitted.

That will mean Bottas moving down from his 10th place on the provisional grid to start 15th.

Speaking about his accident, Bottas explained the grass at Turn 1, which was damp after a morning downpour, had been a factor in the accident.

"I was carrying a lot of speed and I went wider than ideal, and definitely it was a bit damp where I was," he said.

"I got sudden wheelspin and I couldn't catch the rear any more or lift any more. It was my mistake.

"I just pushed too hard in that corner, trying to gain some time. That cost me Q3 and for us as a team a lot of extra work for tomorrow."

With a 27G impact recorded, Bottas was taken to the medical centre for a mandatory check but was given the all clear.

He said there should be no lingering effects from the incidents.

"It was quite a big hit and I'm glad everything's fine," he said. "There's no pain at the moment.

"In the moment it hurts a bit but I guess you earn that when you make a mistake like that.

"The car is not fine but hopefully it will be OK.

"Tomorrow, if we can get everything back together - obviously, [I'm] starting a bit far [back] to be really fighting for the win, but there's no point giving up on Saturday. Everything is still possible.

"We've seen we have a good car in qualifying as Lewis [Hamilton, who will start from pole] showed but we have a very good car for the race and I think anything's possible.

"Plenty of things can happen in the race. I had a race last season when I was one lap down and still ended up second, so you never know."

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Valtteri Bottas
Author Jonathan Noble
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