Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

“Impossible” to beat Hamilton to fastest lap bonus – Bottas

2019 Spanish Grand Prix

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Mercedes told their drivers to stop trying to set the fastest lap in the closing stages of the Spanish Grand Prix, but Valtteri Bottas said it was “impossible” to beat his team mate’s time.

Lewis Hamilton scored the extra point by setting the race’s fastest lap with a time of 1’18.492 on the second lap after the Safety Car came in.

“The team reminded me about the fastest lap,” Hamilton explained. “I went for it, I can’t remember what lap it was, but initially I pulled a really nice gap, like five seconds after a couple of laps, a really good couple of decent laps, and then I think after that I did the fastest lap. Then I was about to go again but they said that I had it.”

Bottas also made an attempt to set the fastest lap of the race before Mercedes told their drivers to back off. He said he initially tried to find a way past Hamilton at the restart then backed off before trying to set the fastest lap.

“The first lap of the restart I tried to see if there’s any opportunity for me to get him,” said Bottas. “There wasn’t, so the next lap I went to charging mode on the battery so I fully charged it, tried the lap after but I felt I’d already lost the edge of the new tyre.

“So Lewis had it one lap earlier so he got it. Obviously for me being right behind him it’s quite impossible with the same car to set a quicker lap time.”

Bottas’s quickest time was a 1’18.737, 0.245 seconds slower than Hamilton’s. After setting it he was told on the radio: “OK Valtteri so instruction you’re not going for fastest lap until the end, Lewis has got fastest lap.”

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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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43 comments on ““Impossible” to beat Hamilton to fastest lap bonus – Bottas”

  1. I’m really not a fan of this gimmick, it’s only 1 point so not enough to be really important, in the end I find it more distracting from the real race than exciting.

    1. Championships could well be decided by a single point, you know.

      1. But not since they made a win worth 7 points more than second.

        1. why not?

        2. If you think that a championship can’t be won by a single point under the current system then there is something wrong with your maths

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      13th May 2019, 17:50

      1 point often does mean a lot. It’s like saying it was’t worth Wehrlein pushing for 10th rather than 11th in Austria 2016. It was only 1 point….. Same with going for 9th rather than 10th. Is it worth 1 more point?? Yes. If say all the drivers had got points for fastest lap points last year in the same way as this year, Bottas would very likely have been 2 places further up in the championship.

      These fastest lap points could turn out to be very importent I’d say. Not against them at all.

      1. Jean-Christophe
        13th May 2019, 18:04

        Had the rule been implemented last year more drivers would have gone for the fastest lap.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          13th May 2019, 21:08

          I know this, but Bottas was very often one of the only drivers in the top 3 teams in a situation where he could do that without loosing out, admittedly because of his not so good tyre management. I still think that if it had been in place last year, he still will have got enough to climb at least 1 place higher in the championship.

      2. Yep – JB – Never forget.

    3. Lemme help explain it to you.

      Fastest lap is about prestige. Going for it DESPITE THE RISK, despite the small reward. You gamble a late race crash to say “this race is MINE!”.

      The added engine wear, the added risk, the small reward, that’s all part of the prestige. When someone crashes out of first going for s flap, I will cheer him on for “going for it, 100%”, and they will have my respect for having taken those risks…

      There’s a hundred things to complain about in f1 right now…flap isn’t one of them imho.

    4. @francorchamps17

      Perhaps Hamilton could have won 2016 with an extra point each race ? I thinks so

    5. You’re being rewarded for an achievement, hardly a gimmick. Bottas has led the title lately on that alone.

      Also keep in mind that the team also gets the point so it. So it will add up over a season. Its not going to be more important than actually winning races and scoring ponts the normal way but they can accumulate.

  2. I can only hope 2020 will be free from this FLAP stupidity.

    1. This FLAP is a flop!

    2. If its as stupid as this year, hopefully it stays!

  3. We have team orders even for the FL! Of course, BOT being again no.2!

    1. Agreed, ominous sign they stopped Bottas trying.
      Every point will count.

      1. “Every point will count” – as much as trying not to take too much life out of the engine pursuing this gimmick?

        1. @gnosticbrian, exactly – the question is whether it is worth going for just one point now, or having more performance in had in the future for a situation where the reward might be more significant (either reducing the risk of failure, or having the opportunity to turn the engine up in a situation where you might be able to gain more than one point).

      2. Jean-Christophe
        13th May 2019, 18:07

        They were given one go each. Would you have preferred he used more of the higher engine mode and risk limiting the life of the engine?

    2. They were both allowed one flying lap. So how does that make Bottas No 2?

      1. Don’t argue with h@ters, mate. Wasted time.

  4. digitalrurouni
    13th May 2019, 15:28

    I love the fastest lap. It’s an additional layer of complexity. Of course you can choose NOT to go for the fastest lap. Having it doesn’t hurt anything. I am hoping it gets added to the F1 2019 game that Codemasters is developing!

    1. But it is not the fastest lap. It’s the fastest lap by one of the first 10 drivers
      It’s a pity they denied the opportunity to teams in the back

      1. It would be funny if the cars out the top ten went for the fastest lap simply for the glory or bragging rights of it. That top ten only stuff is pure elitism keeping the status quo firmly where it is with no chance for an underdog to have its day.

        1. I don’t agree.
          Imagine if two drivers are fighting for 10th place and one of them chooses to pit for fresh tyres and go for the fastest lap.
          That would give both of them the same scoring and prevent spectators to see a battle for position.

  5. Man.. sometimes F1 fans are really hard to please. I just don’t understand all the animosity towards the fastest lap point. I think it’s a great addition. Usually the leading drivers would drive at the slowest pace possible during the late stages of the race.. basically cruise to the line… but now they’re all really going for it.

    1. Exactly. Imagine if at Monaco, the leader of the race crashes while pushing for the extra point. The teams and drivers seem to think it’s valuable enough.

      1. I think someone will crash or blow up an engine chasing for the magical point at some point… and teams will start to be vary of it… i dont see vettel chasing it right now… maybe lec? and bot will get there first

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          13th May 2019, 21:18

          Do you think that drivers would risk blowing an engine for this? The teams and drivers will already be sensible. Bottas will get there first for what? Crashing out or blowing up an engine? I doubt that. Bottas has never crashed out of a race from his own mistake in his entire f1 career. Nor being at fault for anyone else’s retirement. Don’t think any other driver on the grid has gone this long without making a mistake like this. Bottas is sensible enough to avoid things that could result in this from what we have seen so far.

          1. @thegianthogweed
            bottas tangled with vettel twice, one was vettel’s own fault and one was his… not to mention he collided with two cars in the same race both were his own fault…

            also there was a race (which i dont remember now) bottas hit or spin hamilton when he was in williams i think.

            he also crashed himself out of qualifying in australia last year…

            people can make mistakes, bottas is no exception and he did many mistakes in his career!

            i meant to say either bottas or lec may get there first because: both trying to prove a point, one being new so trying to show his potential after the first race… other trying to prove he is not no2 driver… both trying very very hard to show they are as fast if not faster than their multiple wdc winner teammates!
            Back to my point Bottas maybe sensible but he is human and racer with a lot of prove and so much at stake! Ocon and Mazepin are eagerly will be waiting in line!

          2. The proof of the theory will be if there are significantly more engine issues this year compared to last year. I.e. if teams end up having to change engines sooner due to fears of increased wear and thus risk penalties later in the year for using more parts. Or indeed if there are more engine failures. This is only going to be obvious later on the season though. I’m sure the teams constantly revise each engines estimated life according to how it has been used and will instruct drivers accordingly with a view to how the remaining life is likely to be used. It was fine in the old days when you could throw new engines and parts in willy nilly, but with just 3 units available for 20+ races some restriction on high wear modes is inevitable.

          3. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            14th May 2019, 13:49

            Please read that I said retirment. He has never crashed out of a race from his own mistake. And he has never been deemed responsible for anyone elses. That was my point and I’m sure i’m correct.

    2. I agree @Todfod. If liberty gave away free lemonade, people would still complain…

    3. @todfod I feel it’s too random.

    4. Can’t please everyone. Once again I agree with the man of reason, Todfod.

    5. Fair point @todfod but that’s not really been the case – usually one or two of the front runners have always had a crack at setting the fastest lap well before the flap bonus came in – Vettel in particular always tried it when he was in his winning form.

      I think what seems to be a bit of an issue (for me anyway) is the blather that we get from the commentators about it – I guess it adds “some” interest but I certainly could have lived without it. I can live with it but I just get concerned when “gimmicky” things are added.

      I’m still waiting for Sean Bratches to come up with the idea of sprinklers lol

      1. @dbradock

        I’m not sure if it’s that gimmicky. It’s definitely a whole lot less gimmicky than DRS. Just from a racing point of view, I rather see cars go faster than slower, which this does solve to a certain extent.

        I do agree.. That so far, it hasn’t added as much value to racing as it was intended to….but I feel we still haven’t seen the potential of it yet. There will eventually be drivers who bin it while chasing this extra point.. And as the championship gets closer to the end, we’ll have drivers fighting tooth and nail for that extra point. It could lead to some more drama in races to come.. So its kind of hard to write it off as a failure.

    6. Some F1 fans will complain at just about anything at this point.

  6. In an earlier article, Bottas is quoted as saying that he was capable of lapping as quickly as team mate Lewis Hamilton during the Spanish Grand Prix.

    Which article is right; this one or that one?

    1. @gnosticbrian Both? He explained how in this specific case he was slower over one lap.

      Don’t think he’s right though. If he had the pace he would have thought he’d stayed within 3 seconds of Hamilton. If he had the pace he would have been closer to Hamilton’s fastest lap.

      But, who knows. At least in his mind he’s right in both articles.

  7. How can it be argued its a waste of time etc, when going into the race Bottas was ahead of Hamilton by the one point he happened to get for a previous fastest lap. It could decide a championship.

  8. Suggest next to have Top Speed reward bonus. This is to ensure that cars weren’t tuned for maximum downforce sacrificing all the Top Speed. F1 should be more on engine power and Top Speed, and… Mercedes weren’t in the Top 10 which should be good for others.

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