Mercedes has revealed the huge chunk of debris from Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari that got stuck under Valtteri Bottas’ car during the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
After leading away from pole position, Bottas suddenly struggled for pace after the second lap, when he had driven over the endplate of Vettel’s car. Vettel had tangled with Haas’ Kevin Magnussen on the opening lap.
Mercedes revealed the piece of car after removing it from Bottas’ car at his second pit stop.
Bottas said he saw the debris too late to avoid it but had attempted to drive straight over it to avoid puncturing one of his tyres.
“The start was good, and that was one of the main things to get right today,” Bottas said. “On lap two, suddenly out of turn seven, there was debris. I didn’t have time to avoid it. I aimed in the middle of the car at least and tried not to run over that with the tyres.
“But obviously it caused some damage or something which made the car quite tricky to drive.”
Bottas’ struggle for pace saw him drop behind Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton after the first pit stop and then lose second position to Max Verstappen. He inherited second late on when Verstappen crashed out with a suspected tyre failure, but now must outscore Hamilton by eight points at the Turkish Grand Prix to prevent the championship leader from securing the title in Istanbul.