Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Baku City Circuit, 2019

Verstappen ‘doesn’t see the benefit’ of point for fastest lap

2019 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen says he is unconvinced by the recently-introduced rule which awards a bonus point to the driver who sets the fastest lap of the race.

The fastest lap bonus point was reintroduced at the beginning of 2019, 60 years after it was last used. It is only awarded if the driver who sets the fastest lap of a race finishes inside the top 10.

Verstappen said the rule hands an advantage to whichever driver is running last among the leading teams.

“The problem is that most of the time the top three teams one of their cars will have an issue at one point or it’s just a bit slower and they can always then pit because the gap behind is so big,” said the Red Bull driver. “It just makes the gap to the teams behind even bigger if you keep adding a point to the top teams.”

“I don’t see the benefit of it because as soon as one of the top two is taking the point the guy in sixth is pitting to and that particular team is not getting the point.”

Verstappen’s attempts to score the bonus point in Azerbaijan were thwarted by Charles Leclerc, who was able to make a ‘free’ pit stop due to the large gap behind, and ran his engine in qualifying mode for one lap to ensure he would secure the extra point.

Verstappen’s team mate Pierre Gasly scored the point for fastest lap using similar tactics in China, as he had enough of a gap to make a pit stop to change tyres to secure the bonus.

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55 comments on “Verstappen ‘doesn’t see the benefit’ of point for fastest lap”

  1. DAllein (@)
    30th April 2019, 8:19

    WOW! That day came!
    I agree with Max!

    Let FIA\FOM drop this awful remnant of the past!

    1. @dallein – Beat me to it! :)

      Maybe Max isn’t so bad after all…

  2. Not his benefit, maybe… but it’s someone’s benefit every race for sure! So, I think it’s a good addition, and it can spice up things a little bit too. And it’s not artificial like DRS. It also gives a chance even to non-points places to score 1 point… somehow. But, let’s be honest, this point will go, in most races, to the guys with the fastest cars anyway.

    1. It is only awarded if the driver who sets the fastest lap of a race finishes inside the top 10.

      So it doesn’t give a chance to non-points place to score a point…. It is artificial in that sense.

      1. The top-10 rule is the only part I don’t like about it.
        Of course, a driver running outside the top 10 could score an ‘opportunity point’. Maybe Gasly could have repaired his driveshaft himself, pit for new tyres, and set a FLAP to withhold the point from Leclerc;)

        I was expecting Verstappen to pit as well. He had a free stop after Leclerc pitted and still 2 full laps to set the FLAP to protect his WDC position.

        1. Being only a few seconds behind SV for a potential podium spot if SV made a mistake or lost his tires, I did not expect Max to pit for tires to go for the one point.

          1. fair point @robbie
            and also he was told to be careful and bring the car home after Gasly’s (then) unexplained retirement.

    2. It also gives a chance even to non-points places to score 1 point

      Nope, wrong again

    3. @mg1982
      As others have mentioned, it is awarded only for those inside the top 10.

      I agree with this –>

      but it’s someone’s benefit every race for sure!

      The most dramatic/interesting scenario would be in a case where a certain driver is about 17/18 seconds ahead of the one behind, but still takes a risk to go the FLAP and pits, loses a position (or two to add more drama), but with faster tyres and DRS (unfortunately), overtakes those ahead of them in the last two laps to retain his position and also gets FLAP point !!
      Now this could be for any position but higher the position , greater the stakes and more the excitement.

  3. Vitaly Kukshin
    30th April 2019, 8:29

    a lot can go wrong during a pit stop, it’s a risk. this extra point brought in additional action to F1 and as we can see all the top drivers are in for the risk.

    Max the toddler is just crying and shaking his legs, he will go for that extra pit stop next time he can have a free one for sure.

  4. Maybe it would be better if the rule stated the fastest lap point is awarded to a driver that sets the laptime on a set of tyres that were used at least 10 laps during the race. That would prevent the tactics from Gasly and Leclerc (and Bottas would have score more if they had introduced the rules like that at the start of the year)

    1. That’s actually pretty smart.

      Leading teams won’t want to pit 11 laps in advance to achieve this point as something else can happen in the race (VSC, SC) which can help gain even more points.

      Hence, the extra point will keep rotating between drivers on older and older but lighter cars.

    2. But the whole reason this silly rule is introduced is to ‘spice up the show’. So a late dash to the pits for fresh tyres is exactly how the FIA wants it.

      1. Agreed. And at least it has some merit in that you actually have to drive fast to get it, plus it gives meaning to the race for drivers that have fallen in a big gap like Leclerc; nobody up ahead, nobody way back, still something to fight for.

        It makes some sense. So much better than Fanboost.

        1. So much better than Fanboost.

          And even a lot fairer than DRS.

    3. @w0o0dy @Sumedh
      I think this will fail. Imagine Gasly in P6 in a 60 lap race. Based on what we have seen (F1.5), by lap 50, Gasly would more or less have a free stop by that time !! So gasly pits around lap 49 and takes it for a stroll around the circuit and goes all in during the last lap to get the point.
      Midfield is bunched up quite well in ordinary circumstances and they wouldnt risk losing out on position.
      We can get into more specifics but i dont think they having a restraint like ‘fastest time on 10 lap old tyres’ would help. What happens in the dying stages would happen a bit earlier. Thats all.

  5. Matteo (@m-bagattini)
    30th April 2019, 8:35

    I see the point: Bottas is leading by 1 point, the 1 he went for in Australia. That’s enough for me.

  6. Mhm, we see a quali lap by someone with the means in final stages of the race. What is not to like?

    1. @jureo, Come thinking of it.. do we really see much? We’ve seen basically nothing. It is something FOM should pick up upon and go onboard with any of the top teams’ drivers who pit for a new set of tyres and attempt to set the fastest lap, showing how the lap develops. It’s a bit of a missed opportunity to just show flashes of the lap or the time pop up on screen.

  7. Tenth place is also worth 1 point, but there’s almost no discussion about that, so even though the Fastest Lap is also worth only 1 point there is a prestige to it that isn’t given to 10th place. Currently Valtteri is leading the WDC by one point, which happens to be because he did the Fastest Lap at Melbourne, meaning he isn’t tied with Lewis at the top of the WDC table, he’s leading it.
    Looking at the lap time chart for Azerbaijan, it does look as though Max has a point, in that of the top ten drivers only Charles was in a position to actually pit, fit new tyres, and re-enter the race without loosing his place, and so get that extra point. Maybe there’d be more drivers interested in that point if it was opened to all the drivers who were within a lap or two of the leader. After all, I’m sure there’d be some drivers who were prepared to drop a few places from 11th or 12th if they thought they had a realistic chance of getting that point.

    1. Ian Thomas (thelem)
      30th April 2019, 17:43

      There’s loads of prestige given to 10th place, only people don’t talk about it as getting 10th place, they say “in the points”. For example the main story about McLaren’s finish is that they got a “double points finish”. You get 3 points for finishing 9th and 10th, but 10 for finishing 7th and 8th, but the reporting still focused on the double points finish.

  8. At the start I didn’t like the fastest lap point. But… Now I can see that it could become critical for many teams. Especially the midfield. When we are in the final rounds, those fastest lap points could be the difference between a few championship positions and I can see teams risking pitting for a fastest lap point and either making or breaking a championship position. I’d rather see drivers pushing harder for a gap (and making potential mistakes) so they can pit rather than a load of fake DRS passes.

    1. Crucial*

    2. Except none of the midfield teams is fast enough to go for fastest lap. It will go to either Mercedes, Ferrari or RBR.

      1. So then give the midfield teams the chance to earn that point. If they can’t get it then that’s their business, at least they tried. I can see a merit in restricting the point to drivers who have made an honest effort in competing, which is why I think it should be limited to drivers who are within a lap or two of the race leader.

  9. This rule would have been great in a season like 2012 when no driver would have had the luxury of a free pit-stop. Although it would have made the championship possibly less epic than it was, as Vettel had 6 fastest laps that season, compared to 0 for Alonso. But interestingly, 13 different drivers got fastest lap in 2012, whereas it would be a huge shock if there are more than 5-6 different drivers got fastest lap this season.

    1. @mashiat The very fact that 13 different drivers got fastest lap in 2012 shows that driving the fastest lap has little to do with being the fastest or the best. And points should be awarded to the 10 fastest or best drivers, therefore I don’t like it. Although I cannot really be bothered.

      1. The very fact that 13 different drivers got fastest lap in 2012 shows that driving the fastest lap has little to do with being the fastest or the best.

        That will change instantly now there is a point on offer.

        And points should be awarded to the 10 fastest () drivers

        The FLAP IS the ‘fastest driver’, albeit over 1 lap rather than a race distance.

      2. @matthijs Considering 2012 was a year in which 13 different drivers also got on the podium from 8 different teams means that it is an anomaly of a year. In a standard season, I’d predict only about 5-8 drivers get fastest laps. And I don’t mind it at all, especially considering it is only 1 point. That’s the equivalent of finishing 10th in the race.

  10. I like the extra point, basically it’s an extra 21 points up for grabs that can easily decide a WDC, if the driver risks it for a …
    Plus it could induce a mistake, it’s an added variable and like @m-bagattini mentioned because of that point Bottas leads so now Hamilton and others will want that point.

  11. The point for fastest lap is gimmick which came and went in the past and will do so again in F1. It doesn’t ‘spice up the show’ it is a distraction. Like all gimmicks the enthusiasts will eventually get tired of no hopers for a podium flitting into the pits to get new tyres to go for ephemeral hardly noticed glory.

  12. Verstappen doesn’t have to watch the race though, does he?

    Fastest lap is a legitimate achievement, giving a point for it is fine.

    1. On a new set of quali tires, quali engine mode, it really ISN’T. Not even one bit.

      1. Putting yourself in a position to have those things at the end of the race, it really IS.

        1. @pluk Yeah I’m fine with this too, and agree Max is only looking at it from his or the drivers’ perspective, and not from the spice up the show perspective.

          For me I think it will not always be the case that the fastest lap point will be awarded to someone who had the opportunity with a free pit to just go for it. There will be a point (pardon the pun) when it just goes naturally to the fastest driver without the special pit, and there will likely be, depending on the standings, some races near the end of the season when more than one driver pits for the tires and the chance at the point but it will indeed be a race within the race for that extra point if it is that important or necessary for a team/driver to have.

  13. Just another thing for Crofty and co to babble on about as the races draw to a close.
    Personally, I’d rather they focus on mid field battles (or in the last race the battle right at the front) and skip the whole fastest lap rubbish but we have to “spice up the show”
    Feeling old now.

  14. Maybe it would be fun to award fastest lap point(s?) Only for drivers outside top 10 ? That way they could score points in races where they couldn’t in the normal race and it would make slow cars look faster and we might see mistakes,, so an occasional off or hitting the wall?
    Additionally you could award points for behind faster than the top 10 drivers to more than one driver?

  15. Still don’t like it for the same reasons I didn’t when they announced it, If anything after the 1st 4 races I like it less now than I did initially.

    I just still don’t think fastest lap is worth a point, Especially in the cases like we saw in China & Baku where somebody can pit for fresh soft tyres with a few laps left & get it by default. That to me simply isn’t deserving of an extra point.

    And that been a potentially deciding factor in the championship is something I just don’t like.

  16. Verstappen doesn’t have to watch the race though, does he?
    LOL :-)
    I like flap, it’s good as it helps makes the last 5 laps interesting,anyone with a spare 30 seconds & spare set of tyres should consider it.
    Fan-boost is just an embarrassing joke, makes the whole formula look gimmicky…was the main reason I stopped watching FE. (that & the constant whining of the motors)
    I don’t really understand why flap is only for the top 10 finishes though, as I think Lance should be given every opportunity to take Lewis out ;-)…Perhaps this is the reason why FIA don’t want it awarded to slower teams….just in case they start becoming mobile speed bumps…
    Ephemeral, is what the whole world seems to want now.

  17. There is often a general concensus that races turn into a parade and are boring. Drivers being told to by computers in the pits to drive slower, but a car going round and round on his own out of the points, diving into the pits and setting a fastest lap isn’t acceptable to some?
    I would take it further and award a huge pot of money to the team with the most fastest laps but somehow exclude teams with biggest budgets i.e Merc and Ferrari, but allow it for teams with newish engine makers i.e Honda.
    The sport is all about money after all and the smaller teams regularly complaining they don’t get enough for ‘the show’ .

  18. They even showed Leclerc onboard at Baku while setting the fastest lap because everyone knew he was going to get it. I don’t know how that’s exciting or unpredictable or anything… You do the maths and you know.instantly who’s going to attempt to get it

  19. Ditch the Fastest Lap point, bring out the sprinklers

    1. @emu55

      If we’re going that far then make the drivers drive for all teams over a season.

      1. Equal Engines ??? I like Lewis’s face at the 1:12 mark.

        1. level crossings, like at suzuka. That really soices thing up!

  20. Just wait till later in the year when one driver has 7 or 8 extra points for fastest laps and is suddenly in contention for the championship, dont worry Max, it wont be you, but Leclerc could well cause an upset if Ferrari get a grip of their car and strategy.

  21. Nothing new, but what I don’t like—aside from it really making points tables even more worthless historically—is that the championships could well hinge on 1 or 2 laps. Before, you needed to make a pass to increase the points you earn per race. Not only did you have to catch the person in front, but also pass them and make the pass stick. No easy feat, especially at the front end lately (with your rival often in the same car even).

    Now, you don’t need to catch up, in fact, you’re almost better off dropping back, making room for yourself and taking a shot at that extra point. I do not think it will come down to FL points at the end of the season, but it could. For me, it is one thing if driver A ekes out a better result in a race or two and wins even though the rest of the season between him and 2nd place in the WDC was mostly even. It is quite different if they are even on points and driver A squeaks by because he drove quickly for one lap in a race. Didn’t make a move, didn’t pass anyone, just drove slightly more quickly for a single lap.

  22. It is interesting for the losers in top 10. Like Gasly, and Leclerc did. So as soon as you are given the orders to fix new tyres and go for the fastest round you know, you are not relevant for that race anymore.

  23. The fact that the point only goes to the top-ten finishers takes away from its benefits. If nobody running in top-ten is in position to stop for new tyres, but people down the order are, why take the incentive away from them?

  24. They should add that the driver is not allowed to have had a pit stop within say 10 laps prior to setting that fastest lap. Only then it would be an actual challenge with all cars in the top 10 being able to participate. Right now it’s more a lottery of who can afford to take an extra pitstop.

    1. @f1osaurus W0o0dy suggested something similar earlier in this thread. But the whole reason this silly rule is introduced is to ‘spice up the show’. So a late dash to the pits for fresh tyres is exactly how the FIA wants it.

      1. @matthijs Ha funny, I didn’t see.

        Still, wouldn’t it be more show if at at least a couple of driers would be going for that fastest lap?

        We’ve seen some hints of it that multiple drivers started setting fastest laps and it would change back and forth over and over. Until someone, a bit further behind, pitted, set a fast lap on fresh tyres and done.

  25. tony mansell
    1st May 2019, 12:37

    wow if you think this is the only silly rule to spice up the show you have your head in the sand. It mixes it up when the cars are otherwise just cruising to the finish. Its a great rule but i guess every time you get a quote from someone who cant take advantage of it you’ll get the 20 or 30 moaners jumping on the boards to agree.

  26. Danny (@diminishedfifth)
    2nd May 2019, 17:19

    Oh course Max doesn’t like the bonus point for fastest lap, it’s because it hasn’t benefited him yet

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