Bottas said he “ran over a squirrel” on his way to pole position

2021 Italian Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas revealed he ran over a squirrel on his way to taking pole position for tomorrow’s sprint qualifying race at Monza.

The Mercedes driver was on an out-lap towards the end of Q2 at the time. He pulled to the right and overtook Antonio Giovinazzi as they came out of Lesmo One.

As Bottas was about to return to the racing line he encountered the squirrel which was running from the left-hand side of the track to the right. The Mercedes driver reacted, jinxing left towards Giovinazzi, but appeared to strike the squirrel with his right-front wheel.

“I just ran over a squirrel, unfortunately,” he informed race engineer Riccardo Musconi. There was no obvious indication of any damage to his car from video footage of the session, though Bottas did not improve his time on the subsequent lap.

“So when I come in, I hit the squirrel with the front-right tyre so the right-hand-side of the car, have a look,” said Bottas on his in-lap.

Nicholas Latifi also had a close encounter with the wildlife at the Monza circuit, which is situated in a park. The Williams driver took avoiding action when he came across a hare close to the same point on the track, at the exit of Lesmo Two.

Bottas went on to set the quickest time in Q3 and lead a one-two for Mercedes.

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2021 Italian 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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23 comments on “Bottas said he “ran over a squirrel” on his way to pole position”

  1. Groundhogs, dogs, a cat (Baku 2016), a lizard, seagulls, other birds, deer, squirrel (both Monza and Montreal), and a rabbit – I wonder which animal will invade a live track during an F1 session next?

    1. I recall an idiot human running onto the track at the British GP during the race some years ago…..

      Reply moderated
      1. There was also a bitter Mercedes employee who did the same at Hockenheim 2000…

      1. Hare today, gone tomorrow.

    2. I remember a ground hog at the hairpin in Montreal one year.

      1. Though not an F1 animal incident, I remember watching a BTCC race day one year -At I think Brands Hatch- and during one of the Ginetta Juniors races, a bird landed in the middle of the track just ahead of the racing pack.

        By sheer luck as I doubt any of the drivers saw this bird sat there, it was missed by almost every single car. I say almost as one of the cars at the back of the pack did indeed hit it.

        So close, yet just not quite.

    3. Technically a bear could make its way onto the track at Sochi.

  2. Really, a Hare decided to venture on a racing track with 20000 horse powers attempting to qualify..

    I was so surprised to see it.

  3. Bottas literally taking no prisoners this weekend.

    1. Bottas 5.3.7 revB the squirrel killer

      1. Unfortunately, it’s the beta version. There may be performance or stability issues.

    2. This gave me a good chuckle

  4. I wonder what name the squirrel will have when it haunts his dreams! :O

  5. Wrong, misdirected use of his killer instinct

  6. So, next time Valtteri doesn’t listen to James, this will be Mercedes’ plan B, send wildlife towards Valtteri’s car.

  7. 3 place grid penalty for hitting that squirrel ;-)

  8. Even the italian squirrels and hares can’t handle themselves when they could finally see a race after 2 years.

  9. Are Red Bull using trained squirrels now?

  10. maybe that was his lucky charm to pole .who know you get luck in different ways .he got a slipstream.

    Reply moderated
  11. The hare was faster than Latifi.

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