Valtteri Bottas was forced to retire from the opening GP of the year with a bad back, following the qualifying session.
Speaking today in Sepang, the Finn explained to the media what happened in Melbourne. “It’s maximum braking into Turn 13, it was my last timed lap of Q2. I really felt it went there, like someone putting in a knife, and the pain was ramping up until midnight. It started to ease off and in the morning I would have been ready to race”.
However, despite passing the FIA car evacuation tests, the medical delegate decided it would be better if Bottas did not race. When asked if he thought he would have made it to the chequered flag, Valtteri wasn’t sure.
“That’s a question mark. Certainly I would have tried. The plan was I would have done the laps to the grid then we would have reviewed with the team the situation. So I really cannot answer that question.”
Bottas confirmed he has no history of back injury and there was “no warning, it just went suddenly. I never had any pain before”.
Formula One drivers sit in a remarkably different driving position to most other forms of motor racing, and it appears the Williams team believe an adjustment to their Finnish driver’s seat and pedals will mitigate the likelihood for of a repeat.
We have a really good idea (of the cause),” revealed Bottas, “so we have changed the seat and pedal position quite a reasonable amount, so the back is in a more neutral position in the car – so less pressure for the discs. We are confident that should be it … a lot of work for all the muscles in the lower back and glute area.”
Pat Symonds revealed that the Williams team was forced to run with just one car in Melbourne due to the regulations and having no registered reserve driver.
Should Bottas suffer a relapse this weekend in Malaysia, the Williams team have now named Adrian Sutil as their reserve driver.