MELBOURNE, Australia -- Valtteri Bottas will start from 15th on the grid at the opening round of the Formula One season in Australia after his accident in qualifying resulted in a gearbox change and a five-place penalty.
Bottas crashed out of Q3 on his first timed lap after losing control of his Mercedes through Turn 2 and slamming into the wall. The 27G impact ripped the rear wing and rear suspension off his car, damaging the gearbox beyond repair and presenting his team with a lengthily rebuild overnight.
Under F1's regulations a gearbox must last six consecutive events and a break in that cycle results in a five-place penalty. As a result, Bottas had five places added to his tenth place qualifying position, leaving him 15th on Sunday's grid.
Bottas had been losing time to teammate Lewis Hamilton in the first sector of the lap and said he simply tried to carry too much speed through Turn 1 when he crashed.
"It was the first run of Q3 and when I got to the first corner I tried to carry a lot of speed, went a bit wider than ideal and it was definitively a bit damp where I was, in the Astroturf, so I got a lot of rear wheel spin and couldn't catch the rear anymore," he said. "I didn't want to lift anymore, so it was just my mistake, I just pushed a bit too hard in that corner, trying to gain some time but it cost me Q3 today and also, as a team, a lot of extra work for tomorrow."
Asked about his physical condition after such a large impact, Bottas added: "Humans are not made to take 27G impacts, but it's difficult to describe [how it feels]. For sure the legs were moving around inside the cockpit, the head too, the ribs against the seat, all that, but nothing [hurts] in particular. And, like I said, happy that there were no injuries."