Valtteri Bottas was left ruing over what could have been at Imola today, after floor damage to his car made for a tricky race.
After getting a good start off the line and maintaining the lead of the Emilia Romagna GP, Bottas was left helpless from then on as damage to the floor of his car dropped him from the lead of the race.
The 31-year-old picked up the damage in the opening laps of the race at Imola, after a piece of debris was lodged underneath his Mercedes, causing the rest of the race to be struggle.
After leading the race from pole position, the Finn looked comfortable out in the lead, but the Mercedes driver picked up debris at turn seven after a collision between Sebastian Vettel and Kevin Magnussen occurred on the opening lap.
From then on it was a case of reaching the chequered flag for Bottas, who admitted the damage to his car was key in his struggle to close up to Hamilton.
“I think that [the damage] made quite a big effect today,” he said to Sky Sports after the race.
“Suddenly out of turn seven there was debris, I didn’t have time to avoid it.
“I tried not to run over it with the tyres but obviously it caused some damage or something which made the car quite tricky to drive.”
A Virtual Safety Car allowed Lewis Hamilton to make a well timed pit-stop and take the lead of the race, but the damage caused to Bottas’ car made it impossible to catch up to the British driver.
Max Verstappen then overtook Bottas for second as the Finn made a mistake out of turn 14, however the Mercedes driver retook second place after a tyre failure caused Verstappen to crash.
After viewers were left wondering what caused the issues for Bottas, Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff confirmed the cause when speaking after the race.
He said: “I think it was a Ferrari or Racing Point piece, stuck underneath his car.
“He couldn’t avoid it.”
A social media post from Mercedes showed the debris which was lodged underneath Bottas’ car, a piece of carbon fibre belonging to the Ferrari of Vettel.
Bottas will hope that his luck improves at the next race, when Formula One returns to Istanbul for the Turkish Grand Prix.
We think this might belong to you @ScuderiaFerrari 😅
Here’s the piece of debris we just removed from VB’s car👇 pic.twitter.com/C4GrYR7ohn
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) November 1, 2020