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
Why momentum is again behind Australia's aces Prime

Why momentum is again behind Australia's aces

At the Italian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo turned around a troubled F1 season and, in F2, Oscar Piastri demonstrated once again that he is a potential star of the future. BEN EDWARDS weighs up the prospects of F1 having two Australian stars

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Prime

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2021
Why Verstappen should be confident of Russian GP recovery Prime

Why Verstappen should be confident of Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi...

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021
Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1 Prime

Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

Formula 1
Sep 23, 2021
The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Prime

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. Damien Smith brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1.

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Prime

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus Prime

How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Prime

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021