Valtteri Bottas defended his first corner maneuver over Lewis Hamilton at the start of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
The Finn enjoyed a blistering launch off the grid to find himself third as the leaders channeled into Turn 1. The Williams driver committed to the inside of Lewis Hamilton who was oblivious of his presence there as Bottas harpooned the side of the Mercedes.
Despite only superficial damage to his car, Bottas remained on course but was later handed a drive-thru penalty for his tangle with the reigning world champion.
“I committed to brake late into Turn 1,” Bottas explained.
” I saw a gap on the inside 50 metres before the corner and I thought “OK, that’s going to be my spot” but I think Lewis didn’t expect me to come on the inside, so we touched.
“It’s a shame because it cost us a lot today, but even after that the pace was not great. Of course my front wing was damaged and it wasn’t changed – we still need to see why – but the pace was not great and we were just going backwards.”
Obviously, Bottas lamented a penalty which he believed was unfairly applied, while Hamilton himself also labelled the encounter a racing incident.
“Of course I wasn’t happy when I was told about the penalty… I don’t know what to say, really, I need to have a better look at what happened, but I think this kind of thing can happen, going into such a tight Turn 1 like this one, so it was a shame.”
Still, despite the mishap, Bottas acknowledged that his Williams still does not have the proper pace to target a top spot finish.
“We had two new medium compound tyres for the race but we only used one. I used a soft compound tyre for the last stint, one that had only been scrubbed, so it was effectively brand new.
” We need to review our procedures, I think, but I don’t think that’s what cost us today. I think the fundamental thing is that we need to find more pace from the car.”
RACE REPORT: Rosberg beats Raikkonen to win in Bahrain
AS IT HAPPENED: Bahrain Grand Prix
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