Smedley: Bottas released at right point in Button Abu Dhabi GP clash

The Williams Formula 1 team believes it released Valtteri Bottas at the right time when the Finn collided with Jenson Button in the pits during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Smedley: Bottas released at right point in Button Abu Dhabi GP clash

Bottas hit the McLaren as it peeled into its box when he was exiting his own first stop, breaking his front wing and forcing an extra pitstop for repairs.

The stewards investigated the incident and found Williams to be in breach of the regulations through an unsafe pitstop release, awarding Bottas a five-second time penalty.

Williams's head of performance engineering Rob Smedley suggested the correct procedures were followed and the clash occurred because Bottas saw Button too late.

"We'll have to analyse it and understand exactly what happened," he said.

"We released him at the right point but unfortunately he saw the McLaren too late.

"When he saw Jenson, he braked, but Jenson was in the part of the road that he was going to.

"We have a signal to the drivers that tells them traffic is approaching and they need to stay on the right-hand side or further towards the slow lane.

"He did that, but they just had a coming together because he saw Jenson too late."

Button agreed with the stewards that Williams's actions were unsafe.

"I saw that he was going to get released," he said. "Obviously you're not really supposed to as I was pulling in.

"I was bracing for the hit. It disrupted our pitstop quite a bit and the boys were a bit scared when I came into the box, so we lost a lot of time.

"They obviously released him a bit early. I could see it coming as well.

"I tried to move out of the way but it's not my fault because he's driven into the back of the car. Obviously a whack on the rear is never positive."

Bottas later caught Button again on track but could not pass him in the final laps and finished 13th.

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