Bottas reveals he saw race-destroying debris but couldn’t avoid it
Valterri Bottas was left severely deflated after failing to avoid a piece of debris on the Imola track on lap two, causing critical car damage and robbing him of the chance of victory at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Bottas started from pole and held the lead early, only for his pace to significantly slow due to damage sustained to the floor of his W11 after picking up the debris, which came from either a Ferrari or a Haas and caused a major loss of downforce.
“I think that made a big effect today," said Bottas. "The start was good, that was one of the main things to get right today, but on lap two suddenly out of turn seven [the Tosa hairpin] there was debris.
“I didn’t have time to avoid it. I saw it. I aimed for the middle of the car, to try not to run over it with the tyres, but obviously, it caused some damage or something that made the car quite difficult to drive.'
Bottas dropped back to second after he pitted earlier for tyres than Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton who then set several fastest laps, eventually making his stop under a virtual safety car to emerge with the lead.
Struggling with the car, Bottas made a mistake that allowed Red Bull's Max Verstappen to ease past for second, only for the Dutch driver to retire with what appeared to be a right-rear tyre failure on lap 51 of the 63.
Bottas added: “I was really pushing hard to try and avoid Max getting through so, yeah, I had to push over all my limits and that led to mistakes. So, unlucky.”
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