Bottas released from medical centre after Mexico crash

Mexico City (AFP) –


Championship challenger Valtteri Bottas was released from the Mexico Grand Prix medical centre on Saturday after being checked over following his heavy accident in the final seconds of qualifying.

His Mercedes team posted an update on Twitter saying "He’s OK! Valtteri Bottas has been seen at the medical centre and has returned to the paddock. Great news."

Bottas qualified in sixth, two places behind his Mercedes team-mate and defending five-time champion Lewis Hamilton for Sunday’s race, but could be hit by car problems following his crash at the high-speed Peraltada curve.

"The car is extensively damaged – we are assessing what work needs to be completed for it to be ready to race," said Mercedes.

This may result in new parts for the car, possibly including a gearbox, which could result in a grid penalty ahead of the race – making it more possible that champion-elect Hamilton could outscore him by 14 points to seal his sixth title success.

Hamilton said he would "give it everything" in his scrap for a podium finish and hoped to enjoy a close battle with pole sitter Max Verstappen of Red Bull and the two Ferraris.

Verstappen’s performance in the final minutes of qualifying when he clocked an improved lap time on his second run was under scrutiny after the session as he ignored a waved yellow flag following Bottas’s crash.

The Dutchman, who could have faced a penalty if he was the subject of a stewards’ inquiry, said he did not care if the stewards deleted his lap time as his earlier fastest lap was still enough for him to claim pole.

Asked if he had obeyed the rules when he saw the yellow flag and reduced speed, he said: "It didn't look like it, did it?"