The Williams pair suffered major damage which ended their F1 Japanese GP early, as Valtteri Bottas was involved in both the incidents.
After the recent highs for Williams, the F1 Japanese GP proved to be one of their big lows of 2023 where neither Alexander Albon nor Logan Sargeant saw the chequered flag and both had a clash with Alfa Romeo’s Bottas interestingly.
The first one was for Albon who was on the outside going into Turn 1 at the start with Bottas on his right in a sandwich where Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was on the Finn’s right. The Alfa Romeo driver suffered a puncture while the Thai racer had major damage too.
The loss of downforce left Williams with no choice but to retire Albon. It wasn’t long for his teammate Sargeant to join the retirement list along with Bottas. Post the safety car re-start, the Finn tried a move on the American in the left-hander.
But Sargeant locked-up and the two made contact where Bottas was spun around. The two suffered damage enough to retire as the American was handed a time penalty for causing a collision which added to his misery after the heavy incident in qualifying.
Sargeant: “For my side on the incident, I locked the second I touched the brakes, I’m not sure – he must not have seen that, I was never going to make the corner. I was surprised he didn’t just cut underneath me. Yeah, it was just front locking from the second I hit the brake. It’s my fault but Bottas must not have seen that I locked up before making the move. It was a hectic first few laps for sure.”
Bottas: “I actually had a great start right off the line, but then I found myself caught between two cars, a Williams and an Alpine, going into Turn 1. There wasn’t enough space, and that resulted in a collision which caused a puncture on my front right tyre. We immediately pitted and I went for a nose change as well; then, just after the end of the Safety Car, I tried to overtake Sargeant from the outside, and made sure to leave enough space – unfortunately, he locked up and ended up taking me out. The car was undriveable. It must have had some damage in the suspension. We also had a hole on the sidepod, so it was not really driveable.”
Albon: “No car is strong enough to survive those kinds of crashes. A bad start kind of triggered it, so we need to work on that, but then we were in the wrong position at the wrong time and I got squeezed. I had damage from Lap 1 and it was pretty much game over so it’s a shame. We tried to carry on and see if the race would unfold and there were a lot of retirees, so we tried to stay out and see what would happen but, yeah, we were quite down on downforce. When I see Checo DNF and seeing maybe, you know, a possible chance to try and stay ahead of one of the Alpines, yeah points were possible.”
Here’s onboard of Logan Sargeant and Valtteri Bottas’ incident: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/video.2023-japanese-grand-prix-best-race-start-onboards.1778021978780654915.html