Valtteri Bottas says he had no chance to avoid hitting the debris which left his Mercedes Formula 1 car with floor damage during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
But Bottas ran over a broken endplate from Sebastian Vettel’s car at the Tosa hairpin on the second lap following a collision between the Ferrari driver and Haas’ Kevin Magnussen, with the piece of debris becoming lodged under his W11 and causing him to lose significant performance.
“It was on the racing line and I didn’t have time to react, there was that big piece of carbon,” Bottas explained.
“So, I decided and what I had time to do was to aim at least on how to hit it, so I went straight over instead of going over with one of the tyres and possibly getting a puncture.
“Unluckily, it got stuck under the floor and, apparently it was 15 points of downforce, which in lap time it’s quite a big chunk. How it affected the car, I would say it made that in some corners I could feel the car sliding a bit and in some braking it was a bit unpredictable.
“So sometimes I would lock the wheels and sometimes it was stopping pretty quickly, so it was not really consistent the downforce I had in the car. That made it really tricky and I could see that I didn’t quite had the pace and Max was putting a lot of pressure.
“In the end, he got through, because I had to push over my limits to try and maintain the position, I had a lock up and that was it.
“It was not my day, I had no chance, with that debris in the car, to fight for the win, unfortunately, but, at least we could secure a one-two, which is the perfect way to secure the seventh world championship for the team in a row.”
Bottas ultimately finished second behind Hamilton after Verstappen was sent spinning into the gravel when he suffered a right-rear tyre failure in the closing stages.