Bottas ignored Wolff instruction not to go for fastest lap

Mercedes Toto Wolff says Valtteri Bottas and his engineer ignored his pre-race instructions not to take a risk by going for fastest lap in the Australian Grand Prix.

Bottas ignored Wolff instruction not to go for fastest lap

Wolff says he made it clear on Sunday morning that he didn't want his drivers to potentially lose a podium position by going for the fastest lap, which under new rules gets a bonus point if the driver finishes inside the top 10.

However, race winner Bottas was heard on team radio discussing his quest for the extra point, while his engineer warned him that there were "games going on" with other drivers clearly trying to take it from Bottas.

Wolff admits that in the end he was happy that his driver earned the extra point.

"Today in the morning meeting when we talked about strategy, I forbade them to go for the fastest lap if we were running first, second or third," said Wolff.

"They ignored me. All of them!

"I think it was a plot between the engineers and drivers, because the engineers were keen. I need to reconstruct the radio calls and how that happened.

"At the end I'm very happy. Collecting that extra point I think is good. It's entertaining. It's a great new part of the spectacle."

However, he admitted that he was still nervous about it.

"I believe that it's taking risks. Especially when you're aiming for the big points, should you go for the fastest lap?

"But then maybe my reference point in keeping control of a car is my own driving and not the level of the Formula 1 drivers? I didn't like it so much."

Bottas insisted that points for a result remain the priority, but felt that his big lead gave him the opportunity to go go for fastest lap.

However, he acknowledged that it wasn't worth pitting for new tyres.

"Obviously getting the big amount of points from the result itself is a much, much bigger priority," he said.

"And the second priority, the fastest lap. Once the gap to behind was decent there was enough margin to speak about that, and make a plan for that.

"I asked about a possible pit stop, but it's something that we actually spoke about before the race, that it's the first race of the season, we don't want to do silly mistakes, we want to be slightly on the conservative side with some preparations – obviously still racing hard and being the best we can, but we need to make sure we do get the best points.

"That's why we didn't stop in the end, because stopping again is always one more risk, whether at the same time there's a safety car, or an issue with the pitstop.

"I just decided in the last few laps, even though I was in traffic, trying to find a bit of a gap.

"I was pulling back, with some cars behind, went to some other engine modes, and went for a quick lap. I'm glad I got it, so it's obviously one point more."

Bottas expects fastest lap to add to the show this year: "I think it will. Obviously it's only top 10, still I think always it's going to be priority to the position you finish the race, but there's a possibility for sure, everyone is keen to take one extra point."

shares
comments
Wheelnut damage led to Grosjean's retirement

Previous article

Wheelnut damage led to Grosjean's retirement

Next article

Promoted: Why you should go to the 2019 French GP

Promoted: Why you should go to the 2019 French GP
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event Australian GP
Drivers Valtteri Bottas
Teams Mercedes
Author Adam Cooper
Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Prime

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to Stuart Codling, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion.

How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean? Prime

How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But how long will their battle remain clean? Jonathan Noble ponders that exact point

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Prime

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021