Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

Bottas admits braking “too early” in Spain crash

2017 Spanish Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas says he braked “too early” in the first-lap collision at the Spanish Grand Prix which left two other drivers out of the race.

Bottas tangled with Kimi Raikkonen in turn one at the Circuit de Catalunya which knocked the Ferrari into Max Verstappen’s Red Bull. Bottas was able to continue but the other two retired from the race with damaged sustained in the contact.

Kimi Raikkonen slogan, Monaco, 2017
Monaco Grand Prix build-up in pictures
“I definitely could have done a better job,” said Bottas in Monaco.

“The braking point for turn one I kind of lost the reference being so close to Sebastian [Vettel]. So I wasn’t reading correctly the situation so I initially braked too early, released the brakes and that created opportunity for Kimi outside to try and come there.”

“Then I just ran out of space inside really. It was quite unfortunate, three cars side-by-side, it can be tight.”

Bottas says he still considered the collision a “racing incident” but said he “definitely could have braked later.”

“That happens, but the race wasn’t decided for me there but obviously for them it was.”

Bottas retired later with a power unit failure. Mercedes executive director Toto Wolff said the fault which ended his driver’s race was one they hadn’t previously experienced.

“It was painful to lose 15 valuable points with Valtteri retiring from third,” he said. “We’ve identified the root cause of the problem, which was the turbo.”

“We haven’t seen that defect before, which shows you that you need to be double diligent. This is a technical sport and if you stretch your limits, you’ll encounter technical problems.”

Start, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017
Start, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017
Start, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017
Start, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

2017 Spanish Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 11 comments on “Bottas admits braking “too early” in Spain crash”

    1. Now I believe Nikki Lauda… err…???

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        25th May 2017, 8:49

        I still think Bottas could well turn out to be better than Rosberg. what he did in Spain was hardly his fault more than the others. Rosberg has made a lot more mistakes than Bottas over 2015 and 2016 and I do think Bottas is a much better team player than he was. Rosberg was 2016 world champion but there is nothing saying this year that Bottas won’t be if luck goes his way. If you think about it, If Hamilton had retired this race instead of Bottas, then Bottas would be 8 points ahead in the championship. If his confidence grew after this, then he could continue to perform very well and if Hamilton continued to have bad luck like last year, then Bottas could well do what Rosberg did. I think Bottas will get better in time though. But he’s the driver who’s had most of the bad luck this season out of the 2 so far.

      2. Fukobayashi (@)
        25th May 2017, 9:27

        It’s just far too early to make any judgements either way, after a full season perhaps but Lauda is spinning that PR machine. Plus the circumstances under which Rosberg left Mercedes would have left a sour taste in the mouth of at least some of the top Mercedes brass.

    2. I said it before so it’s good to hear from him admitting it too. He needs to step up his game if he want to even think about the title.

    3. If he would have braked late it would have been even bigger crash. Remember the Spa last year?

      1. Exactly. He had not much choice as he got a massive tow from both cars and got boxed in. He couldn’t anticipate Vettel’s braking point so the safest option was to slow down earlier.

    4. So he admits he made an error breaking early. Then he made another one compensating by going into the corner. Still weird you get away with ending two drivers their races while you continue without trouble..

      1. Yes he should have evaporated into thin air

    5. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      25th May 2017, 8:42

      Yes, he may have braked early but it was still possible that this won’t have happened if Verstappen had gone wider. But he won’t have done as he probably won’t have seen Bottas on his inside as Kimi was there. If Verstappen had gone wider Kimi will have been able to go wider too and this incident will have been avoided. Even though Bottas admits he braked too early, remember what happened when he braked later in Bahrain 2016? He had a great start so took a risk at the first corner which didn’t work out. He didn’t have the best of starts in Spain so he maybe backed off to try and keep out of trouble. Some people will never be happy with what he does will they? Drivers such as Hamilton this year has seemed to have had mixed starts to a race. Sometimes braking early, sometimes late. And if 2 drivers had caught up to him in the same way that they did with Bottas, then he may have been involved in the incident. Even though it was Bottas that braked early which resulted in 2 cars pulling partly along side him, it was hardly something he could have expected would result in 2 retirements. No individual made an obvious mistake so it was clearly a racing incident which is what it was classed as.

      I think it is a bit silly to consider braking just a little too early as a big mistake as later in the race, it won’t have been a problem. And as he says, it was extremely unlucky that doing this resulted in a double retirement but just how was he to know this would happen? Often braking early helps keep you out of trouble. There have been plenty of other races that drivers have backed off early at the first corner of the race. Bottas was just really unfortunate to have 2 drivers next to him after he had done this and then he was out of space.

      We have seen other drivers that brake a bit later than this when on the inside at the first corner result in nasty accidents too though in previous years. So it can be very difficult to decide what to do.

    6. Verstappen was matching Räikkönen, leaving half a meter of distance in between.
      Kimi dictated the line. If Kimi would have taken the corner wider Max would have taken it wider too, but it makes no sense to take the corner extra wide if the car on the inside does not.

      Watch the onboard, you can se how Max focuses on maintaining the distance to Kimi.
      He even starts to steer away when Kimi bounces towards him, but that was sadly unavoidable.

    7. Not that I disagree with him or don’t like the fact that he is accepting that he was at fault, it makes me think that by accepting his fault, he will be extra cautious from now on and that ‘Might’ lead him to being not that offensive/aggressive.

      Do we want that from the driver of the fastest car? Maybe yes, but I am not too sure about that. Perhaps there is no right answer to this. Or perhaps I am overthinking things.

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