Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo, Suzuka, 2023

Sargeant says Bottas “surprised” him in race-ending crash

Formula 1

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Logan Sargeant says Valtteri Bottas surprised him when they collided during the Japanese Grand Prix.

The pair retired from today’s race after they collided on lap five at Suzuka’s turn 11 hairpin, where Sargeant was given a five-second penalty as a result.

The rookie hit Bottas’ rear-right tyre as the Alfa Romeo driver tried to overtake him on the outside of the corner. That pitched Bottas into the gravel trap.

“It was a hectic first few laps for sure,” said Sargeant, who also crashed in Q1 yesterday. “I locked the second I touched the brakes.

“I was never going to make the corner and I was surprised he just cut underneath me, but it was just front locking from the second I hit the brake.”

Both drivers initially carried on, but terminal damage from the incident caused Bottas to retire two tours later with Sargeant’s race finishing on lap 22.

“The car was undriveable,” said Bottas. “It must have had some damage in the suspension. We also had a hole on the sidepod, so it was not really driveable.

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“I tried to make the move from the outside but they locked up and ended up taking me out.”

Race stewards ruled the Williams driver “predominantly to blame” for the incident, pointing out “Bottas left plenty of room for Sargeant while he came alongside.”

“Sargeant braked late, locked his tyres and thereby caused the collision,” they noted. The stewards also gave Sargeant two penalty points, putting him on a total of four.

It ended a difficult weekend for Sargeant who crashed in qualifying and started the race with a time penalty due to an infringement by his team. He remains point-less after 16 races this season and is the only driver yet to secure his place on the grid for the 2024 F1 season.

“Today there was not a lot I could really do,” Sargeant said. “Two penalties, both cars had damage, just move on.”

Valtteri Bottas, Logan Sargeant, Suzuka, 2023
Sargeant locked up before hitting Bottas
Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo, Suzuka, 2023
The contact ended both drivers’ races

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2023 Japanese Grand Prix

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Ed Hardy
In 2019, Ed started working on Formula 1 writing articles during race weekends. Alongside that, he also built up experience in football working on...

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14 comments on “Sargeant says Bottas “surprised” him in race-ending crash”

  1. A weekend where we saw one man’s career end. But really there’s nobody to blame but himself, honestly. The stewards were kind to not put full blame on him for that crash, but yeah that was 100% on him and not Bottas. The Saturday crash wasn’t any better, but at least that only impacted him.

    Williams have the luxury of having the final seat in F1 and the option of two good junior drivers. One with some race experience who showed some impressive feats, the other the F2 champion of 2022, now there’s a luxury choice.

  2. What must happen for a driver to be ‘wholly’ to blame for an incident? There’s not even a hint of what Bottas supposedly contributed to it in the decision document. This as opposed to something like the infamous Monza 2021 collision between Verstappen and Hamilton, where they pointed to Hamilton ‘causing’ Verstappen to leave the track. Agree or disagree, at least they made the argument. Here, there’s nothing.

    1. I agree that considering Sargeant only ‘predominantly’ at fault rather than ‘fully’ is weird & the same with Checo.

    2. <em“I was never going to make the corner and I was surprised he just cut underneath me, but it was just front locking from the second I hit the brake.” It’d be easier to say ‘sorry, got it wrong’. I don’t know if Valtteri would care too much, him being on the outside was never the problem.

    3. One might argue that when you try to overtake round the outside, you position yourself in a vulnerable position and you have to rely on the other not to mess up. So Bottas could ‘blame’ himself for choosing a risky overtake spot. But from the race stewards perspective, I don’t see how Bottas is to blame for the collision.

  3. I don’t get this penalty decision at all. Obviously 100% Sergeant’s fault. What’s Bottas supposed to have contributed to this incident, daring to overtake on a corner?

    1. Agree – it’s not as though Bottas could have avoided the collision by leaving more room, as is sometimes the case with these “predominantly-at-fault” decisions – Sargeant was out of control and they were coming together whatever Bottas did.

  4. If he was surprised, imagine how Bottas must feel…

  5. In the second half of your first season you need to show progress. Logan is getting worse. Pace is the same, accidents are bigger.

    Needs to be a different driver in that seat next year.

  6. At the start of the season I speculated on here that Sargeant was well out of depth in F1 and that he wasn’t an upgrade on Latifi. There were a few people who tried to see the bright side of his junior career but I feared this was the way his career would go. Zandvoort and Suzuka weekends have been abysmal. His time is up here, Williams can’t afford the crash damage and Albon needs proper competition.

  7. Williams would be nuts to renew him for 2024. Though I imagine they may delay any public announcements until after the remaining US races this year.

  8. Sargent needs to get a point before the season ends, if anything just for himself. Hard to watch after qualifying, it pretty much sounded like he knew he was gone after that point, now hes in a spare parts bin… Hes just gotta keep it clean and pray for some weather and a little luck and a lot of steely resolve. Perez too, both those guys have been in a really bad spot and just need to worry about what they think, not what others are thinking about, because that will not help them in any way right now.

  9. I’m surprised that you have a racing license. If I was crashing my car as often as you crash yours, I’d lose my drivers license and I wouldn’t dare to complain about it. Yeah, it’s not the same, but I see this guy crashing at least once per weekend now, sometimes more often. He was slow in the beginning, now he’s mentally unstable in the car, cracking under pressure. It happens, but he shouldn’t be in F1 ahead of better talents. I predicted he’d be about as good as Stroll in a year or two (and someone here, I don’t know who, strongly disagreed with that, telling me how he was impressive in junior categories and so on). Now I’m not so sure anymore. Of course, if he was put under as much pressure as Stroll Jr., he’d find things much easier, but still… Being not talented enough for F1 is not a shame. Maybe he needed another year in F2, instead of jumping to F1 prematurely.

  10. I wonder if this is in the media-training a driver receives. Like a lawyer trying to find an angle where you don’t look stupid. Sadly in this case now the angle is so weird it actually adds to looking stupid…

    If anything, Sargeant is upping his game. This time he whacked Bottas from the inside even harder than at Monza.
    Curious about next race! :-)
    Both crashes same response from Bottas

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