Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2019

Hamilton and Bottas were told not to push for fastest lap

2019 Australian Grand Prix

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff said his drivers and their engineers defied his instruction not to chase the bonus point for fastest lap in the Australian Grand Prix.

Both Valtteri Bottas, who eventually claimed the point, and Lewis Hamilton were heard asking their race engineers whether they could take the point for fastest lap. The pair set their quickest times of the race on the penultimate lap. Bottas, whose tyres were considerably fresher than Hamilton’s claimed the bonus.

However Wolff said he’d forbidden his team from risking a push for fastest lap if they were running at the front.

“Today in the morning meeting when we talked about strategy I forbade [them] to go for the fastest lap if we are running one, two or three,” he said. “They ignored me. All of them.

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

But Wolff admitted he was pleased at the outcome which saw Mercedes take a maximum haul of 44 points.

“At the end I’m very happy. Collecting that extra point I think it’s good, it’s entertaining, it’s a great new part of the spectacle.

“I believe that it’s taking risks, especially when you’re in for the big points, should you go for the fastest lap? But then maybe my reference point in being in control of a car is my own driving and not the level of the Formula 1 drivers.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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14 comments on “Hamilton and Bottas were told not to push for fastest lap”

  1. If you hire drivers that are racers, then expect them to want to race.
    As for the engineers, if there were no competitive spirit there, then they wouldn’t be in this business and Mercedes likely wouldn’t have hired them in the first place.
    Wolf may be considering the bigger picture, but the Team is always (and should always) going to want the win, in whatever form. Good luck reigning them in. 44 points …. not bad.

    1. Couldn’t agree more. You worded that perfect.

  2. Yeah like they are going to crash while going much slower than what they do on qualys.
    Without refueling, the fastest lap isnt ever going to be that fast.

    Bottas was 5 seconds slower than his front row timed lap.

    There is not all this drama he is making it seem at all.

  3. Formula 1 – The sport where the 4 fastest cars, backed by 2 of the biggest names in motorsport…. um, get told not to drive fast?

    Christ, if half the grid isn’t even going to bother, might as well make it 10 points for fastest lap. Might give those nervous strategists and engineers some actual incentive…

  4. While the cars are faster, more reliable, the tech more advanced, the teams still embrace the Fangio principle: ‘winning the race at the slowest possible speed’

    1. @jimmi-cynic Nailed it. Likely the same reason Ferrari took no risks in telling Leclerc to hold position. I suspect Leclerc is going to get sick of that real quick, and when he feels secure in the team, he won’t ask and he won’t obey when told either. And Seb pretty much never listens anyway. If it wasn’t for driver’s disobeying orders, team principals would kill the sport with boredom.

  5. Man up Toto, sack the lot of them. That’ll teach ’em !

  6. I might like the fastest lap point if the top 3 were excluded from gaining the point.

    It can create as we saw today a compound benefit for leaders and their teams that can make a championship over very soon, not closer.

    1. Fighting for fastest laps could lead to mistakes if they wern’t being coached and advised from computers in pitlane

  7. Toto still thinks Ferarri are 0.5 a lap faster so needs to look after those engines in hope Seb will destroy his motor like Lewis does tires.

  8. Drivers went for fastest lap despite being told not to?

  9. MaliceCooper
    18th March 2019, 9:11

    Fastest lap is fine We just need Toto to tell them not to push for fastest qualifying

  10. Why is everyone so down on the fastest lap. It’s as if it’s cool to be a tradionalist. Some badge of honour for hard core supporters. It made for more excitement at the end of the race, without all those people without points diving into the pits at the end to chance their arm. I think they’ve got it setup right. What’s not to like.

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