Bottas dropped through the pack at the end of the race due to high tyre wear, leaving him just ahead of Maldonado on the final lap. With a poor run through Spoon and 130R, his team-mate pounced at the final chicane and flew up the inside. The slightest of contact was made and 24-year-old was left with nowhere to go, forcing him across the grass.
Maldonado felt that it was a fair and “clean” move but Bottas doesn’t see it that way. Talking to AUTOSPORT he said: “I was trying to block him on the inside, but he braked so late that I didn’t have anywhere to go other than straight over the chicane, so it was quite risky. If I had kept to my line, we would have crashed for sure.”
He added: “Maybe it was not the fairest move, there was a big risk of colliding. I braked late, but he braked so late that there was no space for two cars and I was on the outside and he was right on the white line so I had to go straight.”
The Finn was noticeably agitated in the post-race interviews after crossing the line in 17th place. With Maldonado in 16th, it was another weekend to forget at Williams. Deputy team principal Claire Williams said that the team would look at the incident with both drivers.
Meanwhile Xevi Pujolar, chief race engineer at the Grove based squad, said that it was simply a racing incident: “We didn’t have any team orders. All race, we had Valtteri in front and Pastor behind and we let them race and on the last lap they came close at the last corner, but that’s how it is sometimes.
“You don’t want to damage the car, but I guess it’s part of racing.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic