The Williams Racing team will confirm Valtteri Bottas’ further participation in the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday morning. The Finn was taken to hospital after qualifying sixth-fastest, complaining of severe back pain.
Bottas first reported discomfort during the second phase of qualifying, and possibly exacerbated his condition with a wild and bumpy moment exiting the final corner on his sole flying lap in Q3. It was an error which cost him a certain third-placed position on the grid, and he could pay the higher price of not being able to take the start of the race.
“Valtteri will rest at his hotel tonight and be checked in the morning by medics before any decision is made,” the team wrote on its Twitter feed.
Should Bottas be declared unfit to race, his place could not be taken by another driver per the FIA Sporting Regulations as he drive in all three practice sessions and qualifying.
Bottas’ teammate Felipe Massa was left to claim the ‘best of the rest’ spoils behind the all-conquering Mercedes pairing of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, although he was still almost 1.4 seconds slower than the best time Hamilton made in Q3.
“It was a tricky qualifying, especially with four cars fighting for a very similar time,” the Brazilian veteran said afterwards.
“The difference between me, Sebastian [Vettel], Kimi [Räikkönen] and Valtteri is pretty small. I’m happy that I did a good lap. It was not so easy with the wind changing; it was so easy to have front locking, but I did not have any on this lap, so it worked pretty well.”
Image via Williams Racing / LAT