Rob Smedley has admitted that Valtteri Bottas' pit-lane clash with Jenson Button in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is likely to be 'one of those things', despite contributing to a disappointing final round for the Williams team.
Although the Finn started from sixth on the grid and made up early positions during this short opening stint on the supersoft Pirelli tyre, it was changing rubber later in the race that undid any gains as he pulled out into the path of Jenson Button's McLaren, removing part of the Williams' front wing as the two cars clashed.
Unable to reverse in the pit-lane, Bottas then had to negotiate the exit tunnel and complete a full lap of the Yas Marina circuit before being able to pit for repairs – and was then assessed a five-second penalty for instigating the incident to add to his pain.
“Again, we'll have to analyse it and understand exactly what happened,” head of performance engineering Smedley confirmed, “We released him at the right point but, unfortunately, he saw the McLaren too late.
“When he saw Jenson, he braked, but then Jenson was on the part of the road that he was going to. We have a signal to the drivers to tell them that traffic is approaching, which means that they have to stay on the right-hand side, or further towards the slow lane, and he did that, but they had a coming-together as he saw Jenson just too late.”
From running comfortably in a scoring position, Bottas dropped down to an eventual lapped 13th place at the chequered flag, and conceded a position to Finnish rival Kimi Raikkonen – who finished third – in the championship standings, dropping to fifth overall, just ahead of Williams team-mate Felipe Massa.