Valtteri Bottas hit with three-place grid penalty at F1 Miami Grand Prix



MIAMI — A tough Friday afternoon will see an even tougher Saturday morning for Sauber driver Valtteri Bottas.

Hours following the conclusion of Sprint Qualifying at the Miami Grand Prix, Bottas was hit with a three-place grid penalty by race officials for impeding Oscar Piastri during the session. After being eliminated in SQ1 after placing 18th, the penalty means Bottas will start Saturday’s F1 Sprint race at the back of the field.

The incident occurred during SQ1, when Piastri came up on Bottas while on a push lap. Bottas had just finished a push lap of his own and was on the left side of the track. You can see the incident from multiple angles here:

As you can hear, Piastri called out the incident as a penalty immediately, while Bottas sounded frustrated that he had not been given enough warning by his team.

Race officials summarized the incident as follows, largely in line with how the drivers viewed it:

“On the straight before Turn 1, Car 77 [Bottas] was being driven slowly on the racing line after finishing a fast lap, while Car 81 [Piastri] was approaching on a fast lap. Car 81 and Car 77 needed to take evasive action to avoid a collision.

“The primary responsibility rests with the driver to ensure that he does not place himself in a position whereby he unnecessarily impedes another driver. Here Car 77 was driving slowly on the racing line and caused to the situation that ensued.

“However, during the hearing both team and driver of Car 77 admitted that the team had not warned the driver of Car 77 that Car 81 was approaching on a fast lap. That was obviously an error on the team’s part and contributed significantly to the incident.”

While Bottas was given a three-place grid drop, he will only drop two places having qualified in P18.

The move comes as Sauber changed race engineers for Bottas following the Chinese Grand Prix. The driver talked about the move during Thursday’s press conferences. “It was quite a sudden change,” said Bottas on Friday. “Obviously it’s a sprint weekend, so working with a fresh guy will be not easy, but obviously [we’re] trying to make the most out of it. He’s getting a lot of support but it’s quite a sudden change.

“It’s part of the kind of reconstruction for the team. There’s some people leaving, some people joining. And obviously many of those decisions are not in my hands. I don’t do those decisions.”

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