Bottas gearbox penalty overshadows excellent Friday at British GP

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For the second race in a row, a Mercedes will take a five-place grid penalty drop due to a gearbox change, with Valtteri Bottas this time hitting trouble at the British Grand Prix.

The Finn had led both of Friday's practice sessions at Silverstone before news of the penalty broke but now the winner at the Red Bull Ring last weekend will face the same task as his team-mate Lewis Hamilton did exactly one week ago.

“I can confirm that Valtteri will be taking a new gearbox this weekend and therefore incur a five-place grid penalty,” a spokesman for the team announced.

“His gearbox was damaged in the same way as Lewis’ but less severely, and we had hoped to coax it to the end of the cycle. However, we have not been able to do so.

“The cause of the damage is understood and now behind us, just as for Lewis’ problem.”

As a result, Hamilton, who has actually looked quicker than Bottas in practice before an error on his qualifying simulation, is now the clear favourite to make it four successive wins at his home race.

Speaking immediately after the session, Valtteri also admitted that despite taking the top spot, he still wasn't totally comfortable with his car.

“We've started the weekend really well. In the first session, the balance was not too far away, so a positive start,” he said initially.

“There is still work to do to get the car more driveable and to be able to trust it more in the high-speed corners but overall I think it was a good start for the weekend.

“We just need to work as normal, try and make improvements for tomorrow.”

The former GP3 champion also acknowledged the increased physical challenge of the 2017 car around the sweeping bends of Silverstone.

“I'm impressed by the new cars on this track with its high-speed corners - they're so much quicker than before,” he said. “I'm definitely enjoying it and had a lot of fun, so I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

“You feel more G in the corners and there's a greater effect on your body, quite a big step up from last year but luckily I'm well prepared for that,” Bottas added.

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