Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2018

Bottas keeps fourth place despite time penalty for Sirotkin collision

2018 Belgian Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas has been given a five-second time penalty for causing a collision with Sergey Sirotkin at the start of the Belgian Grand Prix.

The stewards said Bottas “admitted the collision was his fault, that he had completely misjudged the situation and that the braking of car 35 caught him by surprise and that he should have left more margin.”

Bottas finished fourth, 7.4 seconds ahead of Sergio Perez, which means the penalty does not affect his finishing position.

The Mercedes driver was also given two penalty points on his licence for hitting the Williams. Bottas is now on four penalty points for the current 12-month period.

He said the collision happened because he was caught out by how soon his rivals braked. “I got a good start, I was on the inside and just got surprised by how early everyone braked in the inside and I hit the car in front,” he said.

The penalty was handed down after the race despite the incident occuring on the first lap. Race director Charlie Whiting said the delay was due to other incidents which happened at the start of the race, icluding the major crash triggered by Nico Hulkenberg:

“It was just a bit late being noticed,” he said. “There was a lot going on that first lap. We sort of didn’t really know why Bottas had come in at the end of the lap. It was just something that was not picked up as an incident.”

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Keith Collantine
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  • 18 comments on “Bottas keeps fourth place despite time penalty for Sirotkin collision”

    1. I didn’t see this coming at all. I thought it had already been regarded as a racing incident since an ‘under investigation’ message never once appeared on the world feed during the race.

    2. Perez probably eased off after he was passed by Bottas. The team must be reviewing why they didn’t give him the instruction to stay within 5 secs.

      1. Well, given it wasn’t being investigated, or had any indication of being investigated, and it didn’t hurt anyone else but Bottas himself, I don’t think Force India expected a penalty, more likely they’d completely forgotten it had even happened.

        1. Yeah, but those two points will be worth millions at the end of the year. Statisticians and strategist have one job.

          1. @faulty I doubt those points will cost them much. They are going to finish 7th either way.

    3. Again inconsistent ruling from the stewards. Vettel got 5s some races ago and everybody claimed it was too lenient. Later Raikkonen got 10s and now Bottas gets only 5s again? Where is the consistency?

      A 10s penalty would be appropriate., imho.

      1. The whole penalty for BOT is silly, first he didn’t hurt but himself in this incident and second this was never investigated during the race which was the proper timing to check such a small accident. The stewards are a joke.

        1. Indeed. Plus: two points penalty vs three points to Hulk for knocking out four cars. Not to mention stewards knew 5 seconds was no penalty at all just by looking at the race result.

      2. I thought Sirotkin for 10 seconds so and go at Baku for doing something similar to Perez

      3. Both Ferraris turned the other car around though while Bottas only gave the Williams a little push.

        1. @unitedkingdomracing

          I think that Bottas should be give negative penalty for being so sporting and assisting the slow Williams cars with some extra speed.

          +5 seconds to Bottas

          1. @captainpie
            It’s -5 seconds in race time not +5 and I agree with you :P

    4. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      26th August 2018, 18:15

      I find it interesting that Bottas went well over 2 and a half seasons without getting a single penalty point. Now he’s just had 2 races and got 4.

      I can see why he’s been to blame for both though. But anyhow, despite the incidents, at least the majority of the last 2 races have looked good still. I think his drive in Hungary prier to the collisions was rather underrated. The strategy let him down. After his incident today, he recovered very well. There were so safety cars after the first lap to help out. All in all it was a solid race. Just a misjudgement at the start.

      1. Yet like Hungary the time penalty is a moot point though understandably fair. Also its the Penalty points that Bottas has racked up are more of a serious penalty for him.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          26th August 2018, 18:44

          I wouldn’t worry too much about this though. In he managed over 2 years without any, I think this will probably teach him to be more careful. I don’t expect he will go close to Kvyat or Vettel’s level of points at one stage last year.

    5. How many incidents have Bottas had in last two race weekends only. I’m sure non Mercedes driver would be getting race ban by now.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        27th August 2018, 8:09

        What a silly comment. The incidents Bottas have been involved in are very minor compared to loads of non Mercedes drivers this year. An example of lots of incidents is Verstappen having some in 6 out of 6 of the first weekends. Having some sort of contact in every single weekend. Several being very poor moves.
        Then Grosjean has been involved in a lot more too.

        The things Bottas did were not that serious. Explaining why there was only a racing incident for what happened with Vettel in Hungary. The next incident was his fault but this thing has happened before and Hamilton hit Ricciardo in a very similar way at that very corner one year.
        The incident in practice in Spa was only enough for a reprimand.
        The incident in the race was only a slight bump. Nothing like as bad as what Vettel or Kimi did to the Mercedes drivers earlier on in the year as Bottas didn’t send the Williams spinning. And yet the penalty was the same as Vettel’s in France. Maybe a bit harsh but was the smallest they could give so fair enough. He also managed to recover just as well as he would have done without that happening despite damaging his front wing. So I don’t know why you make such a big deal about it.

        So yes, he’s been involved in several incidents. One being a racing incident, one just begin with a reprimand. The other 2 were a little more clumsy. But they were not enough to cost him or the other driver any positions at all in the end. In Hungary, he will have finished 5th anyway given the damage he had. One reason why I don’t think you should suggest a driver doing similar in another team would get a ban. What Bottas has done is nowhere close to that level. Even what Hulkenberg did wasn’t enough for a ban and that was significantly worse than what anything Bottas has ever done. Bottas will need to do something worse than that or get 3 times more penalty points before he gets a ban. And I doubt that will happen. Bottas avoided getting penalty points for over 2 and a half years. So it isn’t something that happens often with him so i doubt it will continue. He’s never been responsible for his own or anyone else’s retirement so that is sort of an indication he virtually never gets involves with anything that serious. So far anyway.

    6. Stewards: “It was just a bit late being noticed”

      Once again proving how incompetent they are when the whole world and his dog saw it on replay soon after.

      Something should really be done about the stewarding system. It’s just doesn’t fit F1 to be so unprofessional.

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