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It’s been quoted that marbles caused Nicholas Latifi to veer off line and spin into Valtteri Bottas, ending his race.
Bottas’s birthday grand prix ended extremely prematurely when a spinning Williams knocked him into the gravel. Unable to start the car, Bottas became the second retiree of the race. This came a lap after ex-teammate Lewis Hamilton made contact with Fernando Alonso and picked up considerable damage.
Why Latifi spun…
In his post-race chat with Formula 1, Latifi admitted that he veered a little bit off line and that there was a huge lack of grip.
“I got a little bit wide through Turn Six battling for position,” said the Canadian driver.
Latifi believes the marbles from the other races caused the spin as he was shocked by the lack of grip.
He then went on to compare that section as driving on slicks in the rain.
“It caught me off guard how little grip there was. It was then like driving on slicks in the rain. [I] Just understeered right off [with] no control in the car.”
That weekend, the Belgian Grand Prix played host to numerous support races. There was the Porsche Supercup, Formula 3 and Formula 2. Usually this is a positive thing for Formula 1 drivers as the track gets grippier as the weekend goes on. However, Latifi believes there was discarded rubber that wasn’t cleaned up before his race.
This rubber, also known as tyre marbles, is the reason he believes there was such little grip.
How it affected his race
Latifi believes that the early incident really compromised his race.
“[I] clipped the gravel and obviously spun back onto the track. I damaged that set of tyres which is unfortunate as we needed those tyres to make the two-stop strategy work. It compromised the race”
The starting laps looked promising for Latifi as he was up there amongst all the action and was battling with other cars. Even the interviewer at the start said “early stages, you were right in the mix”.
Bottas, in his interview with F1, said it was “disappointing for sure”. He commented that with the out-of-place grid, there could have been “opportunities”.
He ultimately chalked his incident down to being in the “wrong place at the wrong time”.
Bottas said there was no damage to the car but he was just “stuck”.
“I tried to go forward, tried to reverse. It was just stuck”
Bottas didn’t blame Latifi as he knew it was an accident and again, put it down to being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Feature Image Credit: Formula1.com