• Malaysian GP - Qualifying

Bottas slapped with three-place grid penalty

ESPN Staff
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Valterri Bottas' hopes of Q3 fell apart in the wet © Sutton Images

Valtteri Bottas has been given a three-place grid penalty for impeding Daniel Ricciardo during the second session of qualifying at the Malaysian Grand Prix. He will also receive two penalty points under the new driver scheme in which 12 points results in a race ban.

Bottas was accused of holding up Ricciardo towards the end of the lap, with the stewards judging that he "did not pay attention to the approaching car and continued to impede car 3 [Ricciardo] through Turns 14 and 15". However, the Williams driver did not agree with the stewards' assessment.

"I thought that it would be okay, that there would be no penalties, but then there was a three-place penalty," he said. "From our point of view it was quite difficult from our situation because we had a radio problem. In Turn 9 the team told me you have to find a gap in front or behind Ricciardo, and I tried to stay in front, but obviously he was coming very quickly and was a bit closer in the last three corners than it should have been. For me, I was focusing on keeping temperature in my tyres and get a clear lap, because that was the only lap I would get with the wets. I was trying to do the best for me.

"I didn't cost him anything in the end and I wasn't sure if he was on a timed lap and he could have backed off. He already had a lot of temperature in the tyres and everything. It didn't cost him any positions, so I'm not sure."

Bottas will start from 18th on the grid but is still confident of scoring points if the rain stays away.

"If it's dry I think we have a chance to get in the top ten. Where in the top ten, I don't know but hopefully closer to the top six. If it's wet we know it could be a very difficult day."

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