Valtteri Bottas will not drive in the Australian Grand Prix because of a back injury, his Williams team said Sunday.

The Finnish driver sustained the injury to his lower back during Saturday’s qualifying session for the season-opening race.

“It can be confirmed that the scans revealed that Valtteri has suffered a very small tear in the annular part of a disc in his lower back,” a team statement said less than an hour before the start of the race.

“Valtteri has since been evaluated by the FIA’s medical team and following a series of tests the FIA Medical Delegate has deemed Valtteri unfit to take part in this afternoon’s race.

“The team respects the FIA’s decision and will now work with Valtteri ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix (on March 29) to ensure he receives the treatment required to get him back to full fitness.”

Bottas’ withdrawal has left Williams with experienced Brazilian Felipe Massa as their only driver in the Melbourne race. – Agence France-Presse

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