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Bottas cites "strange behaviour" of clutch for poor start

NEWS STORY
12/05/2019

Despite his 0.6s advantage over teammate on Saturday afternoon, it all came to nought on Sunday when a fluffed start saw Valtteri Bottas lose out to teammate Lewis Hamilton who went on to win the race.

Off the line, and on the run to Turn 1, the Finn was the meat in a sandwich which saw Hamilton hold the inside line for the first corner, and almost saw Sebastian Vettel go around the outside.

However, when the German locked-up, momentarily leaving the track, and causing Bottas to have a scary wobble as he rejoined, the Finn was able to hold on to second place for the remainder of the race.

"It was pretty tight, but I lost it at the start," he admitted in the moments after the race. "There was some strange behaviour on the clutch. It was biting, releasing, biting, releasing, which I never felt before, so I lost it there."

Asked if there were any issues beforehand, on the warm-up lap, he said: "No, absolutely, no. It was the first time I've felt anything like that, like a vibration in the clutch and that's why the initial getaway was very poor.

"It was kind of biting and releasing in a very quick frequency," he added. "So it's really annoying. All the hard work this weekend for me went down the depths but obviously I'm not blaming any individual in the team, and as we are a strong team, we are going to investigate how it happened and how we can avoid it ever happening again in the future. That's the strength of the team. But obviously for me as a person, it is annoying to have it this way but that's how it goes."

Having said in Baku that he was "too friendly" to Bottas in the first corner, this time around the Briton was 'elbows out' for a start he described as "interesting".

"It was obviously an interesting start," he said. "It was obviously very, very close.

"I saw the red car go around the back of both of us so I had no idea if they were further ahead," he added. "I assumed they might be, I knew Valtteri would brake super deep, but it wasn't a replay of Baku at least."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Barcelona, here.

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