Valtteri Bottas admitted that he is not too concerned about the grid penalty imposed for the Belgian GP, following the opening lap incident at the Hungaroring, stating that Spa Francorchamps is a track with many overtaking opportunities.
The Finn hit the brakes late, taking out Lando Norris and in turn, damaging Max Verstappen’s RB16B, effectively taking the two out of race win contention. Bottas was handed a five-place grid penalty for the Belgian GP, with the Finn certain the Mercedes’ race pace will overcome the deficit.
“Out of all the tracks to have a grid penalty, [Spa] is definitely on the good side of the list because you can overtake if you have the pace,” Bottas said.
“I think on this track, race pace is quite important if you compare qualifying pace versus race pace, so we need to focus on that.
“Whatever we do in practice [we can’t] forget that we still need to try and qualify well.”
Bottas expressed his thoughts on the ongoing title battle with Red Bull, expecting it to be once again a close fight at Spa. That said, Bottas admitted that it would be difficult to predict the exact outcome of the race due to how close the two teams are in terms of performing on race day.
“I think we take all the learnings we can from the last race, especially for me personally, and I’m sure it’s going to be a good battle again,” Bottas added.
“It’s impossible to predict nowadays and it’s quite fine margins between the two teams.”