Williams driver Valtteri Bottas has criticised team-mate Pastor Maldonado after the two drivers narrowly avoided a collision at the final chicane on the last lap of the Japanese Grand Prix.
Maldonado, 28, dived down the inside of Bottas at the chicane, forcing the Finn to take avoiding action and cut the chicane. Maldonado crossed the line 16th, one place ahead of Bottas, who was struggling with high tyre degradation at the time.
Bottas, 24, believes they would have crashed if he had attempted to take the corner. The Finn said: “There was no space on the track. It was not fair. If I hadn’t gone straight on we’d have crashed. Racing shouldn’t be like that.”
But Venezuelan Maldonado said: “It was close but quite clean. I got the position. I was faster than him but the strategy on my car was completely wrong. We got 100% from the car. It’s not making any big difference but when you are a racer you always want to take a position from the others.”
The race stewards did not take any action but Williams deputy team principal Claire Williams said the team would look at the incident with both drivers.
Williams chief race engineer Xevi Pujolar told Autosport: “All race, we had Valtteri in front and Pastor behind and we let them race and on the last lap they came close at the last corner, but that’s how it is sometimes. You don’t want to damage the car, but I guess it’s part of racing.”
Maldonado is 17th in the drivers’ standings, having scored just one point this season. Bottas has yet to score. Williams are ninth in the constructors’ championship, 30 points adrift of Toro Rosso in eighth.