Bottas given all-clear after 'decent hit' into barriers in qualifying
Valtteri Bottas has enjoyed some fabulous qualifying sessions in 2019, but Mexico’s pole position shootout is one he’ll remember far less fondly after suffering a big crash within sight of the flag…
The Finn, who has taken four pole positions this season, was attempting to improve on P6 on his final run in Q3 when he lost control at the final corner, slamming into the barriers front-first.
Bottas quickly confirmed he was okay over team radio, but his heavy breathing and ginger body language as he stepped from the car hinted at the severity of the impact.
The Mercedes star was taken to the medical centre following the crash, but subsequently given the all clear.
It was a good lap – I was three tenths up, so it could have put me into third position. That’s what makes it pretty annoying.
“It was a decent hit but all is well – no pain anywhere,” Bottas said, before explaining how the crash had happened.
“Before the last run on Q3 I saw there was a bit of margin to the cars to the cars behind, so I knew there was basically no risk from behind so I’d rather go for it and push hard, so I did. It was a good lap – I was three tenths up, so it could have put me into third position. That’s what makes it pretty annoying.
“But yeah, in the last corner I went a bit wider than I wanted and it was bit dusty on the exit, so that really got me. Then it was too late. I clipped the wall, the wall dragged me on and then at the end there was another barrier that finally stopped me.”
Bottas now faces an anxious wait to see how much damage was caused as a result of his crash and whether his machine will require any changes that will lead to grid penalties. If he does start down the order, can he still get a decent result?
“It’s difficult to say. We know straight-line speed isn’t our strength and you normally need that for overtaking. But I think it’s going to be about tyre management, and we’ve seen pretty much all the cars suffering with graining of the tyres. So if we can somehow avoid it could be good.
“But it’s still all to play for. There’s a long race ahead, and normally it’s a race of many opportunities and many things happening. So nothing’s lost yet and I look forward to tomorrow.”
Bottas is the only driver who can stop Silver Arrows team mate Lewis Hamilton from securing a historic sixth world title this season. Hamilton, who will start Sunday’s race from P4, needs to outscore the Finn by 14 points to make it three titles secured in Mexico in a row.