Valtteri Bottas has been issued a reprimand after colliding with Haas driver Romain Grosjean during the second Friday practice session ahead of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Bottas came from a long way back to try and pass Grosjean on the inside at Turn 12, but by the time he had committed to the overtake Grosjean had already started turning into the corner. The pair collided at the apex, sending both cars into a spin with damage.
Grosjean opened his radio channel to vent his frustration, with F1’s world feed bleeping out part of his message: “What the [bleep] was that?”
Haas made a cheeky reference Bottas’ famous line after winning the Australian GP earlier this year — “to whom it may concern, f— you!” — in tweeting the video out that evening.
To whom it may concern… 😉 pic.twitter.com/DuilmDIWBS
— Haas F1 Team (@HaasF1Team) November 29, 2019
Bottas was originally of the opinion Grosjean had turned in on him, but after getting the chance to get out of the car and watch the incident from a different vantage point than his own cockpit he apologised to the French driver.
“I think he didn’t really see me coming up the inside,” Bottas said in the TV pen on Friday evening. “My apologies but there was nowhere for me to disappear. I went for the overtake and that was it.
“Honestly I thought he would see me coming. He wasn’t covering the line so I thought he was aware I was there but maybe he didn’t look in the mirror before turning in. I expected him to see me and I saw the gap decreasing and there was no escape.”
Both drivers visited the stewards after the session. The verdict released shortly afterwards said Bottas will be reprimanded as the Finnish driver had “acknowledged that it was a failed attempt at an overtake which resulted in the collision”. It is Bottas’ first driving-related reprimand of the season — gaining three in one calendar year results in a grid penalty.
Bottas is already out of the fight for pole position. Mercedes made an engine change ahead of the weekend following his engine failure at the Brazilian Grand Prix, meaning he will start from the back of the grid.