Valtteri Bottas has been forced to withdraw from the Australian Grand Prix after being deemed unfit to race with his back injury.

The Finn hurt his back during the Q2 phase of qualifying, but though he would go on to place the Williams sixth on the grid, he would be transferred to hospital for further checks, where he remained overnight

Returning to Albert Park to undergo further checks by the FIA doctors, which would ultimately decide whether he could race, the decision was taken to withdraw from the season opener.

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"It can be confirmed that the scans revealed that Valtteri had suffered has a very small tear in the annular part of a disc in his lower back.

"Valtteri has since been evaluated by the FIA's medical team and following a series of tests the FIA Medical Delegate has deemed Valtteri unfit to take part in this afternoon's race.

"The team respect the FIA's decision and will now work with Valtteri ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix to ensure he receives the treatment required to get him back to full fitness."

The absence of Bottas - who finished fourth overall last season - means just 17 cars will start today's Australian Grand Prix.

It also means everyone from Daniel Ricciardo beyond will move up a spot, with the Australian now sixth, from Carlos Sainz, Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado, while Felipe Nasr and Max Verstappen make their F1 debuts from 10th and 11th.