Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Singapore, 2019

“The car ahead before the pit stops has priority” at Mercedes – Bottas

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In the round-up: Valtteri Bottas says he understands Mercedes’ decision to slow his pace so he wouldn’t overtake Lewis Hamilton through the pit stops in Singapore.

What they say

Asked whether Mercedes should have let him pass Hamilton after he had helped his team mate stay ahead of Alexander Albon by slowing down, Bottas said: “No because the car ahead before the pit stops has the priority in any case, always.” He insisted the same would have happened if he had been leading Hamilton:

I know it will be the same if it’s vice-versa. I will make sure it will be the same vice-versa and I trust it will be.

But obviously from outside it looks pretty bad. And obviously from my side being in that situation is completely against your instinct to back off not to overtake your team mate. It doesn’t make any sense.

But it’s been there that kind of the rule since I don’t know how long in the team, at least since I joined so. But it is both ways, it’s just not for Lewis. It’s always so.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Should teams ever tell their drivers to slow down?

Regarding the Bottas call I absolutely loathe hearing a team telling a driver to drive slower. Absolutely disgusts me. That’s not racing it’s pure management interference. I’ve been wanting so much to see Vettel win a race this season after messing up chances so far but not this way. Didn’t feel good at all.

Was kinda really hoping Vettel would show consistency here and reverse the 1st and 2nd car position boards like he did in Canada. That would shown pure class and a sense of humor. Plus Leclerc would no doubt be mightily impressed.
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On this day in F1

  • 30 years ago today Gerhard Berger won a highly controversial Portuguese Grand Prix: Ayrton Senna collided with Nigel Mansell, who was being shown a black flag at the time for reversing in the pit lane

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  • 33 comments on ““The car ahead before the pit stops has priority” at Mercedes – Bottas”

    1. Who’s a good boy? You a good boy Bottas, good boy!

      1. Precisely my thoughts. It was such a poor thing to do…but hey, for some teams, F1 can be a team sport at times, and this was certainly one of them.

        Bottas is certainly an unofficial number 2, I’m sure he believes it himself. We shouldn’t blame him for being a team player, he is following orders. I’ve never been a fan of drivers disobeying team orders, whatever those may be. Yes, there have been instances in the past where the team has been “fair” to Bottas, but by and large, they screw him when it suits…but then again, that’s sort of his job, no? I wonder what he does on his summer break, because this is starting to become a trend. Bottas’ seasons always start to unravel in the second half!

        I go by this logic. If you’re paying one of drivers 50 million a year, you certain don’t want to see him get beat by a driver that gets paid 80-90% less…what sense would that make from the perspective of the team? This has nothing to do with Lewis’ ability or speed, his record speaks for itself.

        1. @jaymenon10 you are right, I didn’t want to write a 1000 word essay to properly express it, good job on you, it had to be said.

        2. According to your logic you leave the guy who is in 2nd place out long enough, so when he finally does pit he comes out behind the guy who is fifth? So you wouldn’t pit him earlier to bring him out in third, as that would mean Bottas still stays fifth? Merc threw away some of Hams points on a gamble, but in your world that’s unfair on Bottas.

          I get gambling on going long to maybe have a chance at a win. But it seems some on here think its a perfectly normal strategy to to go long with your lead driver to benefit the other one whose a few cars back.

      2. But this is why Ocon doesn’t have a drive at Mercedes and Bottas has. As long Lewis stays at Mercedes Bottas place is secured.

      3. @peartree You talk so much nonsense honestly, why should the faster driver all weekend lose a place because his slower teammate had to be protected from losing even more places?

        Ferrari did exactly the same thing in Australia, if the place isnt earned on track it shouldnt stay end of.

        1. Well to begin with, Bottas was faster at that stage. He just set on of the fastest laps. It’s disgusting behavior by merc.

          1. So you think they should leave the man in 3rd place out on degrading tyres, and pit him to come out behind the guy who is in fifth?

            1. Strange fiction. Ham was leading and Bottas was behind ver. Lewis would return between bot and ver they expected. But Bottas was to fast and had to slow down to help Lewis.

          2. Bottas was only faster because he was pitted before Lewis. If Bottas wasn’t going to follow the strategy from the garage, they would have just put Lewis first. Surely, that isn’t difficult to understand?

    2. I find it hard to believe that Bottas gave those quotes. There’s no “for sure” in it. ;)

      1. For sure, Rosberg is the “for sure” master.

          1. Obviously… like yeah.

      2. @phylyp i saw it live on sky sports, he dropped a ton of for sures.

    3. @COTD hehe, Vettel show class and humour giving a win back? This is something some drivers like Stirling Moss might have done. People who never go on to win a WDC.

      Vettel has no problem winning in any way needed.

      Ferrari should do that aswell, Mercedes after yeara of dominance have developed certain unwriten rules, like first car before the pitstops has strategy preferance to avoid these kind of issues, but going in to a race with a team that tries to maximize their result that might be reverted.

    4. Also… not really good news for future airline passengers. In a Williams seat, everyone sits at the back.

      1. But changing aircrafts shouldn’t be a problem as they make 2 second pit stops. No more delays.

      2. At least the plane will always land. Until Grosjean the Williams was the most reliable car.

    5. I agree with the COTD.

    6. The COTD ignores that fact that (a) Ferrari themselves underestimated the power of the undercut, evidenced by their radio messages on Vettel’s outlap focussing on jumping Hamilton, not Leclerc (b) Had Ferrari not stopped Vettel when they did, they would have lost a place to Verstappen (c) Vettel’s outlap was quicker than Leclerc’s and (d) Vettel was much more decisive in moving through the cars that run longer than the front runners (Gasly, Ricciardo, Giovinazzi et al).

      I’m gutted for Leclerc, but the team didn’t take the race win away form him. Circumstances gave Vettel a sniff of a chance and he took it.

      1. @geemac – I’ve said it elsewhere, but all that Ferrari had to do was to keep Leclerc informed. Because this is not the first time they have left him in the dark or made calls that favor Vettel. So failing to inform him again makes it look bad regardless of whether it was a mistake or deliberate, even giving Ferrari every other benefit of the doubt.

        Once they inform him, it’s all on Leclerc’s shoulders. If he cannot find the time he needs, too bad. If he does find the time, great. But not informing him was the issue.

        1. They didn’t inform him because they didn’t realise he was in danger of being undercut until he was in the pitlane.

          1. @geemac – As tempted as I am to believe that Ferrari are incompetent as well as underhanded, I’m not sure the data bears that out as the sole reason for not informing Leclerc.

            They may have underestimated the strength of the undercut but they had to know it was considerable. Hulkenberg was still on full fuel and was putting in the fastest laps of the race on harder tires due to his early pit. So they had to know that when they pitted 15 laps later, having less fuel, clear air, and being Ferrari compared to Renault they would be capable of considerably faster lap times than the Renault had put down.

            Further, if they saw that Vettel could potentially clear Hamilton, then Leclerc was always at risk because Hamilton was very close in the final laps before Leclerc pitted.

            Again, just inform Leclerc and all of this goes away.

    7. COTD is a joke. So a driver should underperform forcing his team to pit him first so as not to lose even more constructors points at the detriment of the driver who has whipped him all weekend? No. That’s an awful way to manage any team, let alone rewarding poor performance. Ditto Ferrari except they have a history of that kind of thing, Mercedes is run better than that.

      1. This was the kind of stuff Mclaren used to do. Focus on the guy in 5th position and lose race wins.
        As far as I can see, this is a none issue. Bottas didn’t get into this position because of his race pace but because the team sacrificed the leading car to protect his own position.
        Ferrari did the same thing, and finished 1 – 2 instead of 1 – 3.
        Mercedes on the other hand would have finished 4 – 6 had they allowed Bottas to hold that position.

    8. it does seem like bottas rolled over a bit. i can’t imagine verstappen, alonso, hamilton or vettel doing that. they would argue they were under attack from albon and therefore had to drive at a certain lap time. the team would know that was false but the marker would have been laid down and, in all probability, bottas would have gained some points on hamilton. the whole “this is for the benefit of the team” is a fairly weak argument given mercedes’ massive superiority in the WCC standings.

      1. If Bottas didnt want to play ball they would have just pitted Ham as normal and he would have come out in third. You are suggesting Bottas saying to the team. ‘I understand why you are going long; so we have a chance of the win, but if you do try that, I’m going to destroy your strategy. By doing so I gain nothing, but you and Hamilton lose.’ And your argument is that because of the lead in the WCC Mercedes are not interested in taking a gamble on the win which is the main benefit of the exercise? I would suggest it’s because of the lead in the WCC and WDC both Ham and Merc were willing to risk a few points on a strategy gamble.

        1. @riptide – That is one of the benefits of keeping Bottas on a year-to-year contract. They can hold that over his head.

          1. Hold it over his head. As he said its been an agreement since he joined. So he’s had plenty of time to dispute it, or not sign

      2. different circumstances, but there was that time in Hungary 2017 where Hamilton did a lap nearly 10 seconds slower than his best to let Bottas through at the last moment. It does show that Hamilton can sometimes be generous like this.

    9. Diplomatic from Bottas. Understandable given this is the only chance he should ever have at a race winning seat. Mercedes have been capable of winning nearly every single race since Bottas joined them and has only managed to win 5. Hamilton on the other hand has won 28. Still mystified as to how he managed to retain his seat this year and next. Actually I’m not, it’s just nepotism.

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