(Reuters) – Valtteri Bottas’s Formula One title chances took a huge hit on Sunday when the Mercedes driver suffered his first retirement of the season in the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nuerburgring.
The Finn, who will stay second in the overall standings, had won the previous race in Russia to cut team mate and six-times world champion Lewis Hamilton’s overall lead to 44 points.
Bottas started on pole position on Sunday and stayed in front until he locked up on lap 13 and ran wide at turn one with Hamilton, chasing a record-equalling 91st career win, able to close the gap and overtake.
The Finn then reported a loss of power on lap 17, lost pace and was retired by the team when he returned to the pits.
“Unlucky. What can I say,” the Finn told Sky Sports television.
“During the VSC (virtual safety car period) I started to lose power and it never recovered. It was quite a big loss of power so something to do with the power unit, I don’t know the details yet,” he added.
“It had been good fun until then.”
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge)