Valtteri Bottas felt he was “unlucky but also a bit lucky” to still finish third following his pit lane clash with Max Verstappen during Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix that he believed would ruin his hopes of a decent points finish.

Bottas ran second in Monaco behind Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in the early stages of the race, but was leapfrogged by Verstappen in the pits behind the Safety Car.

Verstappen and Bottas ran side-by-side momentarily in the pits shortly after the Red Bull driver’s release, only for the Mercedes to be squeezed into the wall, leaving him with a puncture.

Bottas was forced to pit again on the following lap after sustaining a puncture in the clash, costing him two positions, but he nevertheless finished the race third after Verstappen was handed a time penalty for the incident.

“That was really the thing that made this race more difficult,” Bottas said.

“I don’t know the reason why the stop was slow, and then Max was sort of alongside me in the pitlane. He had been behind before, but in the pit lane he was slightly ahead. We were side-by-side but he kept coming to the right, so we touched. I also touched the wall because there was no space and got a puncture for that.

“I thought that having to stop again, I would be down at the back of the field, but ended up just losing out to Seb. So, I was unlucky but also a bit lucky.

“It could have ended up worse, these are still important points. But it’s disappointing, going backwards from your starting position.”

Asked if he felt Verstappen’s five-second time penalty was a fair ruling, Bottas said: “It’s a tricky one because there was never going to be a way I could get back what I lost.

“The only thing I could get back was Max’s place due to the penalty he got, but there was no way I was going to get back the position I lost to Sebastian.

“I think he got his penalty, and it’s OK. No more point in talking about that.”

Bottas revealed after the race that he briefly thought Verstappen was going to hit him as they went side-by-side at Turn 1 on the opening lap, only to pull ahead exiting Sainte Devote.

“Max obviously had a great start from the inside line and was there for Turn 1, but I knew that if stayed on the outside and could carry more speed I would be OK,” Bottas said.

“There was a small moment, at mid-corner, where I was expecting him to hit me, but he didn’t and I was happy with that – job done.”

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