Australian GP: Bottas sent to hospital for back pain, may not compete in race on Sunday

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Williams driver Valtteri Bottas was taken to hospital suffering from back pain after qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix on Saturday and could be in doubt for the season-opening race.

The Finn, who qualified sixth at Albert Park, felt lower back pain during the session and was undergoing precautionary checks at Melbourne's Alfred Hospital, his Formula One team said.

A spokesman said his condition would be assessed at the track before Sunday's race.

"Valtteri was suffering with his back and lost a lot of time down at the last corner, coming out," team performance chief Rob Smedley said.

"We don't know what it is. He just started complaining about it in the middle of the second qualifying, saying the small of his back was hurting.

"We had a look behind his seat and there was nothing in there. I don't know what's happened, whether he's jarred his back or something. So that's not going very well."

Bottas' Brazilian team-mate Felipe Massa qualified third behind world champion pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg.

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