Mercedes confident Bottas will retain Mexico grid spot despite crash

Mexico City (AFP) –


Mercedes expect world title challenger Valtteri Bottas to retain his sixth place on the grid, without any penalties, after repairs to his crashed car ahead of Sunday's Mexican Grand Prix.

The team issued a team update on Sunday morning, which said: "We expect (Valtteri) to be able to start without a penalty from his grid slot, barring any unforeseen surprises."

Bottas is the only remaining driver who can stop his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton from claiming a sixth drivers' championship. Hamilton is seeking to outscore him by 14 points to retain his title.

The Finn lost control of his car and crashed at the final Peraltada corner on his final lap in qualifying on Saturday, hitting the barriers heavily. He was badly shaken and suffered a knee injury.

The team said the car needed extensive repairs, but without changing any parts that would have incurred a grid penalty.

Hamilton will start from third on the grid, having been promoted one place following Max Verstappen of Red Bull's loss of pole position with a three-place penalty for ignoring yellow flags at the scene of Bottas's crash.

If Bottas had been penalised, it may have improved Hamilton's hopes of a podium finish and 14-points scoring advantage over him.

Team chief Toto Wolff told reporters late Saturday that Mercedes had not found any gearbox damage on Bottas's car.

"We are 90 per cent confident that we can fix it without any penalties."