For Toto Wolff, Valtteri Bottas’ pitlane spin on Friday afternoon was an over-publicized event, but for some of Mercedes’ rivals the mishap was an ‘Armageddon’ incident according to the Austrian.
Bottas spun on a fresh set of hard tyres as he left the Mercedes garage, and stopped in front of McLaren’s box which encouraged the latter’s team boss Paul James to buzz FIA race director Michael Masi to complain about the “absolutely ridiculous” mistake.
Bottas was subsequently hit with a three-place grid drop for Sunday’s race, a penalty the Finn labeled as “harsh”.
And Wolff agreed, adding that he found it “highly entertaining how quickly some sporting directors jump on the channel to Masi and come with Armageddon scenarios”.
“It’s good that these channels are now opened up so we can all have a laugh,” Wolff said.
“On the flip side, Valtteri spun in the pitlane, and could have hurt somebody. And that is, whether this is at walking speed, like it happened yesterday, it still can hurt somebody severely. I understand the penalty.'”
Read also: Bottas unhappy to lose front row start over ‘harsh’ penalty
But ultimately, Wolff considered the punishment excessive given Bottas’ impeccable track record.
“Do I find it harsh? I find it harsh, particularly against somebody like Valtteri, who is never putting a foot wrong. He was very honest and straightforward with his explanation.
“Many others would have come out and said I don’t know what happened, the banner on the floor, the sponsorship on the floor was slippy and you really need to change where you paint, because I had no idea what could happen.
“He came out and he said I tried to optimise my start and I lost it.
“We should have a little bit more integrity like Valtteri has around the paddock, including the ones that push the button very quickly and moan about everyone else and whinge.”
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