Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2018

Bottas reprimanded for Vandoorne incident

2018 Belgian Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas has been reprimanded for forcing Stoffel Vandoorne off the track during final practice.

Bottas accepted responsibility for the incident, according to the stewards.

“The driver of car 77 [Bottas] conceded the incident was his fault and that he had not seen car two [Vandoorne] approaching, despite checking his mirrors and having heard a warning message from his team,” they noted. “He believed that car two was further behind than it actually was.

“The stewards determined the incident was not intentional or reckless and for this reason imposed the penalty referred to above.”

The reprimand is the first Bottas has received this season. Any driver who receives three reprimands is given an automatic 10-place grid penalty.

Vandoorne admitted the incident had been “scary” but said he was relieved his car wasn’t too badly damaged,

“We were on a new tyre run, Valtteri came out of the pit lane, he didn’t see me coming. I had to take a decision to either go left or right.

“And he didn’t see me coming, I got pushed on the crash. It was a rather scary incident but not much damage, that was a good thing.”

Bottas explained why he failed to see Vandoorne: “I exited from the pits and out of turn one I got a call that there would be two cars behind me, to let them past.

“I looked in my mirror and I saw one car so I think Stoffel was that close to Fernando [Alonso] that I didn’t see him. So I let Fernando go up to Eau Rouge, then again I looked in the mirror on the right-hand side, I saw no one.

“And then on the left suddenly I saw an orange car next to me and it was too late. So just my bad, I didn’t see, obviously I looked in the mirrors at the wrong time.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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12 comments on “Bottas reprimanded for Vandoorne incident”

  1. Well, that’s fair I guess. Would have been great if the team had spotted, and told him, that McLaren were likely to try a slipstreaming, then he’d known Stoffel would have to come past at some point soon.

  2. Either a reprimand or a mild penalty would have been fair, I think. But obviously, if it had happened in qualifying the stewards would have been well within their rights to come down a little harder.

    1. As penalties are supposed to be a deterrent, and Bottas was advised by his team, I would have expected a 3 places as well.
      bad precedent, @neilosjames.

  3. Way too lenient. It should have been a grid penalty of five positions. At least!

    I feel that had this not been a Mercedes, that is the penalty that would have been given. Not inly did he put Stoffel at risk, it also cost McLaren time and could have been very costly had he crashed into the barrier.

    1. @spafrancorchamps, as Bottas is already going to have to start at the back of the grid, imposing a grid penalty would have no impact on him.

      I agree, if the team had already warned Bottas that Vandoorne was approaching, that the penalty is extremely lenient in the circumstances – part of it might be because he is in a Mercedes, but part of it might be because the stewards have decided that they can’t really impose a grid penalty, since it would be ineffective, and they don’t really have any other option.

  4. I’m OK with this decision.

  5. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    25th August 2018, 16:21

    The one thing that puzzles me about this is that Vandoorne chose to drive right behind Bottas to start with. So if Bottas had seen him, Bottas surely would have thought that following behind a driver on an outlap makes little sense. That is one reason why I think Vandoorne could have done a little better to avoid confusion. Bottas will have seen him more easily if he didn’t try to get slipstream. Obviously much more Bottas’s fault, but don’t know why anyone would think a harsher penalty is due. And this is nothing to do with the fact a penalty won’t mean anything. If what Bottas did was that bad, he would have got got penalty points. Only got 1 reprimand, so this wasn’t really that bad.

  6. Penalize a Mercedes driver? Never!
    They are the “owners” of formula 1 for several years.

    1. short memory!
      Last race – Hungary – Bottas – 10sec.

      1. Not short memory… Selective…!

  7. If Vettel or Raikonen 10 seconds of delay in the race ….

    1. There’s a conspiracy against Ferrari, of course!

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