Tire blunder costs Bottas, Williams at Spa (VIDEO)

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Valtteri Bottas and Williams Martini Racing made something of a deal heading into this weekend that the Bottas-to-Ferrari rumors had the potential to damage driver and team’s relationship.

Yet it’s miscues like the one that struck Bottas today in the Belgian Grand Prix that has actual implications, and wound up costing them better points.

After starting third, Bottas ended an unrepresentative ninth after the Williams team botched a pit stop on Lap 10, providing the Finn with a mismatched set of prime tires.

After it happened, the team tweeted this:

Bottas served a drive-through penalty on Lap 15 and then pitted again on Lap 23 to take on a full, unblemished set of primes.

By that point the damage was done and Bottas could only get back to ninth, as he and Felipe Massa both gained a spot in the final laps following Sebastian Vettel’s tire blowout.

“We haven’t got the result we were after today,” Bottas said post-race. “The pit stop and the race pace are two areas that we need to investigate.

“We thought we would be stronger during the race but the soft tire in the first stint didn’t work as well and put us in a difficult position. We have to make sure we bounce back well in Monza.”

Massa’s sixth place moves him ahead of Bottas in the Driver’s Championship, 82-79. Massa and Raikkonen are now level fourth on 82, with Bottas down to sixth on 79.

The team lost two points to Red Bull in the fight for third in the Constructor’s Championship. However Williams still leads that, 161-108.

Hildebrand enters Indy 500 with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing

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INDIANAPOLIS — J.R. Hildebrand will race in the Indianapolis 500 with Dreyer & Reinbold Racing in a second entry dedicated to the late Dan Gurney.

Hildebrand will pilot the No. 48 as a nod to the number used by Gurney, a racer, car builder and team owner who died in 2018. Hildebrand will be teammates with Sage Karam and his car will be sponsored by Salesforce.com.

Hildebrand has eight previous Indy 500 starts and was leading on the final lap as a rookie in 2011 when he crashed in the final turn. Dan Wheldon slipped past for the victory and Hildebrand finished second.

Hildebrand also drove for DRR last season.

DRR is also fielding the #24 Chevrolet in this year’s Indy 500 for Sage Karam.