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F1 Brazilian Grand Prix: Loose seatbelt and graining costs Bottas

Williams F1 driver Valtteri Bottas only tenth in the Brazilian Grand Prix: “It was not really my day – a lot of things went wrong...”
Valtteri Bottas had to settle for tenth place in the Brazilian Grand Prix, losing time with a loose seatbelt and also suffering with high tyre wear.

Bottas began the race from the second row of the grid and ran fourth early on behind team-mate and eventual third place finisher, Felipe Massa.

However, he soon began to struggle with graining after his first stop, before a long second stop dropped him further back as a mechanic had to tighten his lap belt. He then had more graining after that and a long final stint left him nursing his car to the chequered flag.

“It was not really my day – a lot of things went wrong. The first stint was not too bad. There was no problem and everything went to plan. We stopped really early to try and make sure no one had us over by undercutting. That was all fine,” Bottas said.

“Then in the second stint there was a bit more graining with the tyres than we expected – mainly with the rear. We had to make the stint a bit short. I was P4 until then and everything was kind of under control.

“But we had a really slow pit stop after that because of some things we needed to do with the belts. That cost us a lot of time and the third stint I had some issue with the left rear tyre with graining – there was a big band of massive graining. I think it was a construction problem or something. That slowed me down quite a bit – I was just sliding a lot and the tyres got destroyed really quickly.

“The last stint was then compromised as it became really long for me. I just needed to try and make it to the end without stopping again. So, I was managing a lot at the beginning and then could just avoid [Daniil] Kvyat from overtaking. At one point there was some debris in the rear wing [as well], a tear off or something. [As I said] it was just not my day.

“But I am happy for Felipe - it must be a nice feeling for him to get a podium here - there is no better place for him. That is good and we are still ahead of Ferrari [in the Constructors' Championship as well]. We have got 44 points now [over them]. That is good going to Abu Dhabi.”

Asked what happened with the belts and what the issue was, Bottas added: “It became loose suddenly. I don't know why we are still investigating, but it made it tough.

“Physically it is not easy because you are moving about and when you are braking you need to keep it with your hands, it is not ideal.”

Meanwhile, Williams' head of performance engineering Rob Smedley said it is not uncommon for belts to become loose, although it tends to happen towards the end of a race and not so early on.

“That is a possibility,” Smedley replied, when it was put to him that perhaps the belts weren't tight enough at the start. “Sometimes the drivers' move around a little bit as they are getting in. The seat tends to shift a little bit too. It is not an uncommon problem that you finish with the belts a little bit looser than when you started because of the forces that are impounded upon the drivers.

“It is just a little bit strange that it was earlier in the race rather than later. Valtteri says the same thing. That is why we got in there and it took such a long time to check that there wasn't actually a problem, but it is pretty normal to be honest.

“We will probably just make sure he has got his bottom a bit lower in the seat when we tighten them in the next race.”
by Rob Wilkins

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
09.11.2014 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams F1 Team FW36 leads Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW36
09.11.2014 - Race, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW36
09.11.2014 - Race, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW36 and Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB10
09.11.2014 - Race, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW36 and Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Lotus F1 Team E22
09.11.2014 - Race, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW36 leads Jenson Button (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
08.11.2014 - Qualifying, Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams F1 Team FW36

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