Valtteri Bottas has been disqualified from today’s qualifying session for the British Grand Prix.
Hopes for Alfa Romeo going into qualifying at the British GP were low. However, the team saw a potential reprieve through the changeable conditions in Q1.
As the session drew to a close, it looked as if the team could take both cars into Q2 on strong pace. Bottas jumped to P1 in the closing seconds, and teammate Zhou Guanyu moved into P4.
This sadly proved to be a false dawn, as track evolution saw both Alfa Romeo’s drop rapidly down the order. Zhou would finish the session P18, while Bottas scraped through in P15. The gap to the underperforming Sergio Perez was less than two-tenths of a second.
Sadly any hope of Bottas progressing into Q2 quickly evaporated. After crossing the finish line, his Alfa Romeo suffered an issue. Grounding to a halt out on track, any hopes of Bottas participating quickly disappeared. Following his disappointing retirement from qualifying, his car was sent to scrutinising for the usual post-qualifying checks.
No fuel causes disqualification
However, during the checks, the team ran into a significant problem. Alfa Romeo was unable to provide the FIA with the required fuel sample for testing, as per normal procedure after a session.
The Finn was promptly thrown out of qualifying. This means Bottas will now start the race from the back of the grid or the pit lane. The FIA confirmed in a statement that there were no ‘mitigating circumstances’ behind the issue, meaning that the team will have to accept its punishment.
Alfa Romeo lies P8 in the Constructors Championship on just 9 points going into round 11 of 23.
Failure to provide a fuel sample has impacted teams in the past, one of the most notable in 2012. Lewis Hamilton then driving for McLaren had taken pole position for the Spanish Grand Prix, only to run out of fuel on his way to the pits. Unable to provide a fuel sample, he was promptly sent to the back of the grid for Sunday’s race.