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F1 2020: Bottas 'not at all to blame' for dramatic Mugello restart crash

By Daniel Lewis

Mugello, Sept. 13: Valtteri Bottas says he was "was not at all to blame" for the crash that caused a red flag during the early stages of the Tuscan Grand Prix.

F1 2020: Hamilton beats Bottas in tumultuous Tuscan Grand Prix

The incident-packed race was halted on lap nine following a multi-car collision that forced Carlos Sainz Jr, Kevin Magnussen, Antonio Giovinazzi and Nicholas Latifi to retire.

With the safety car already out following a chaotic first lap, Mercedes driver Bottas bunched up the field and was seen to weave slowly down the pit straight.

A number of drivers accelerated and slowed in an attempt to second-guess Bottas, leading to the crash, with Romain Grosjean hitting out at the "f****** stupid" decision making.

F1 2020: It was like three races in one day! – Hamilton drained by Mugello epic

However, the 31-year-old insisted he stuck to the rules and instead questioned the safety of the current restart laws.

"We're all allowed to race from the control line, which has been there for a while I think," Bottas said.

"It's just the decision this year has been that [on] the safety car they are putting the lights off quite late so you can only build the gap pretty late on.

"Of course when you're at the lead you try to maximise your chances. I'm not at all to blame for that. Everyone can look at everything they want for it.

"I was doing consistent speed until I went. Yes, I went late, but we start racing from the control line, not before that.

"So the guys behind who crashed because of that, they can look in the mirror, there's no point whining about it."

He added: "I think the FIA or FOM - I don't know who decides with the safety cars - are trying to make the show better by turning the lights later so you can't build a gap early and then go like a corner before the main straight.

"So maybe it's time to think if that's right and safe to do so."

Bottas was unable to keep hold of the lead and eventually finished second to team-mate Hamilton, while Red Bull's Alex Albon completed the podium.

It was Albon's first top-three finish since being promoted to Red Bull 13 months ago, which he admits is a huge weight off his shoulders.

"It took a while to get here! It was a tough one, we had to work for it," he said. "I'm really happy. I feel I can breathe. It's nice to be here.

"I was expecting [the physicality] to be worse but we did have two red flags so that did help it.

"It's ruthless, especially the high speeds in sector two, you feel it. But otherwise there is more adrenaline going in my body than anything else so I’m happy."

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Story first published: Monday, September 14, 2020, 1:00 [IST]
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