Bottas blames Spanish GP defeat on 'strange' clutch issue at the start

© XPB 

Valtteri Bottas says his Spanish Grand Prix was compromised at the outset by a "strange" clutch issue that hindered the Mercedes driver's launch off the grid.

Bottas lined up on pole, determined to capitalize on his grid position to take the lead at the start, but the Finn was outrun by both team mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel on the run down to Turn 1.

Bottas ultimately exited the complex of corners second, but Hamilton took full advantage of the space in front of him to take command of a race he would comfortably dominate thereafter.

For the Finn, his fate was clearly sealed at the start when the lights went off.

"I can look in the mirror and say it was not my fault," said the visibly disappointed Finn.

"There was some strange behaviour on the clutch which was biting, releasing, biting releasing. Some strange vibration which I never had before, so I lost it there.

"That’s why the getaway was slow so I'm keen to find out what happened."

His clutch issues off the line notwithstanding, Bottas was later unable to keep up with Hamilton, a deficit he put down to racing behind the leader in dirty air.

"It's quite a lot easier at the front, easier to control the pace," added Bottas.

"When you're behind you're trying to keep up and in dirty air on this kind of track you're sliding around so I was expecting the race to be kind of decided into the first corner.

"Even though you try to wait for the opportunities, it was game over."

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

Keep up to date with all the F1 news via Facebook and Twitter