Martin Brundle: Valtteri Bottas not at fault for Mugello pile-up
Ex-F1 driver turned pundit Martin Brundle believes Valtteri Bottas can’t be blamed for the multi-car crash at the Tuscan Grand Prix.
As the Safety Car returned to the pits on Lap 6, Bottas briefly led the pack back into racing action until four cars collided in the midfield behind him.
Nicholas Latifi, Kevin Magnussen, Carlos Sainz and Antonio Giovinazzi were all eliminated from the race as a result and became four of the 12 drivers who received warnings for causing the incident.
There have been several complaints about the timing of the signal that the Safety Car was ending, represented by the SC lights being switched off, but Bottas himself also was to blame in the eyes of some drivers, even though he wasn’t among the 12 to be warned.
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But Brundle has defended the Mercedes driver, saying those behind Bottas had plenty of warning that the Safety Car period was ending.
“Many drivers were not at all impressed with Bottas’ very late safety car restart technique,” he wrote in his Sky Sports column.
“It was his prerogative to control the pace as leader and accelerate when he wanted. Those in the second half of the grid were so hair trigger watching each other that they were underway before the leaders and met with horrible energy in the middle.
“It was the perfect storm in a way. The safety car lights went out reasonably late but we don’t want that out on track one more lap than necessary after clearing up incidents, and in any event the distance from the finish line down to the first corner ensured anyone leading would not accelerate until the last moment in the certain knowledge they would be swamped by slipstreamers into turn one otherwise.
“There was also a green flag and green light panels flashing away at the line, but you can’t overtake until that point anyway. Those in the second half of the field quite rightly saw opportunity and risk, so were itching to accelerate hard as soon as they thought the pack was away.
“They are quite unsighted behind others drivers’ rear wings and they are born racers. Maybe the pit walls should have been reminding them that the acceleration point could well be late, and perhaps they should have known. The stewards officially warned the 12 at the back and exonerated Bottas.
“It was another big multiple shunt and thankfully nobody was hurt. Carlos Sainz in particular had a heavy impact and so we had a red flag to clear up the mess. There was a huge amount of damage the teams can ill-afford in this rapid-fire season, and by lap six we had lost seven cars.”
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