Mercedes plan “amicable” talks with Hamilton and Bottas over fastest lap mix-up

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In the round-up: Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says the team will discuss the mix-up which almost led to Lewis Hamilton losing a point in Snuday’s race.

In brief

Hamilton losing fastest lap point wouldn’t have been right – Wolff

Valtteri Bottas briefly took fastest lap – and the bonus point – away from Hamilton during Sunday’s race after being told not to by his team. Although Hamilton was easily able to retake the point, had he encountered yellow flags on the final lap he would have left Zandvoort four points behind championship leader Max Verstappen instead of three.

Wolff said the matter will be discussed with the drivers in a sensitive fashion, as he realises Bottas’s frustration after a race in which he had already played a supporting role to Hamilton.

“It could have ended up in a loss of a point for Lewis and it would have also been not right because he had fastest lap until then,” said Wolff.

“But you have to understand also at that point, a certain degree of frustration, of Valtteri. And at the end, everything is good. We’re going to talk about it, but in a most amicable and professional way. But they are not robots and I can certainly relate to the situation.”

Ocon wasn’t aware of contact with team mate

Esteban Ocon didn’t realise he’d made contact with team mate Fernando Alonso on the opening lap of the Dutch Grand Prix until he reviewed footage of the race. Alonso passed Ocon after they touched on the approach to turn three.

“At the time I was not understanding why I had my front wheel in the air and why I locked up so easy and my car was not steering,” said Ocon. “But basically Fernando was holding me up from behind – that’s what was happening, I didn’t know he was on that left side, basically. We touched, which allowed him to also get the run on the outside of turn three.”

There was another hectic moment involving the pair as the field raced up the hill to Scheivlak. “It was also quite close for both of us in the run-up to when we overtook Giovinazzi on the outside of turn six and entering seven,” said Ocon. ” We both hit a bump and Fernando almost lost it, we were side by side.

“So it was quite a fun battle. Obviously, I lost a position in that battle but next time it will work in my favour.”

Covid cases rise again at Zandvoort

The FIA and F1 reported 16 positive cases of Covid-19 in the week up to and including the Sunday of the Dutch Grand Prix, out of a total of 6,691 tests. Kimi Raikkonen was among them, and was unable to take part in the race as a result.

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Comment of the day

Could Mercedes have swapped Bottas for another driver sooner?

Ricciardo’s problem was his timing. He was itching to leave and finalized the deal with Renault too soon (summer break). Had he not committed to Renault so early and still be available in the second half of 2018 – the time when Vettel’s performance nose-dived and the pressure on Mercedes reduced – I believe, Mercedes would have been happy to hire him as an equal number one to Lewis. That would have been a great battle to witness.

Ocon was available at multiple points. But I think he would have been a downgrade on Bottas – at least the 2017-2020 Bottas. Ocon didn’t dominate Perez until 2018 which resulted him not getting the 2019 seat. Him being out of a racing for one full year mad him miss out on a 2020 seat. His performance against Ricciardo in 2020 also didn’t put him in good light either.
Sumedh

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On this day in motorsport

  • 35 years ago today Nelson Piquet led Nigel Mansell in a Williams one-two at Monza, closing within five points of his team mate at the top of the championship, overhauling Alain Prost whose engine failed

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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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  • 53 comments on “Mercedes plan “amicable” talks with Hamilton and Bottas over fastest lap mix-up”

    1. “Amicable” – Does everything in Mercedes PR have to be deal with the most cringeworthy way possible?

      Reply moderated
      1. @rodewulf Meanwhile, Toto to Bottas : Valteri you did a boo boo.

        Reply moderated
      2. What would you prefer? Valterri and Lewis to settle differences with hand-to-hand combat?

        … which probably wouldn’t go Valterri’s way. Even being more than a decade out of practice, I’m sure Hamilton still remembers his training.

        1. grat

          What would you prefer? Valterri and Lewis to settle differences with hand-to-hand combat?

          I would prefer fierce competition on track from the first to the last race of the season, not beautiful words after unecessarily humiliating one of the drivers. And as for Bottas, considering that he’s already out of the title fight, why didn’t Mercedes put hard tyres on his car if he really had to pit because of the dangerous “vibrations”? It would avoid the shame of a “Valtteri, this is James” call as he wouldn’t have the need to back out, but it still allow Lewis to score the fastest lap point afterwards with minimal risk of losing it.
          But no, they have to expose the whipping boy in the ridiculous situation of having to abort a lap for a point that never really was in danger, and Bottas half showed to be displeased. The Mercedes progaganda tries to put amends on that situation in a way that they might think the public is a bunch of fools. No, we’re not that ingenuous and it shows their veiled intentions! They just care about Hamilton and don’t admit. Lewis always acted against having a fast team mate at Mercedes but strives to say the opposite. He wanted that point so badly (said it at loud on team radio) but declared that it doesn’t matter afterwards. Too much of lies and they think they’ve fooled everybody.

          Reply moderated
    2. I’d forgotten the upcoming event was a sprint race weekend and when I realised my heart sank.

      Your not the only one.

      There’s part of me that just wants to skip the sprint & just pretend it doesnt exist…. But then the fan in me who hasn’t missed a live F1 broadcast that was available for me to watch since 1995 can’t stand the thought of voluntarily not watching any bit of track action.

      Although been honest with the direction F1 is been taken im not sure how much longer that will remain the case. Liberty have a direction they want to take F1 in & im just not sure im onboard to follow them as i don’t like most of there vision.

      That is something i think I’ve recently started to realise & begrudgingly accept.

      1. Weird, I didn’t realise it was going to be a sprint race weekend until I read the tweet and I’m now looking forward to the second trial.

        Reply moderated
      2. Keith’s tweet made me smile.

        I’m of much the same ilk as you @stefmeister I too seem to be reassessing my commitment to F1 given the direction it seems to be taking. I’ll stick with it for now, but sadly, I’m now cherry picking what I watch instead of never missing a session.

        1. @Stefmeister @dbradock I was in a similar position to each of you a few years ago, reassessing how I followed a sport that was pushing through changes that seemingly pleased nobody. Ironically it was Liberty’s buyout and initial changes (not sprint quali!) that reinvigorated my interest.

          What I concluded was that F1 will never be in a position to please everyone with the direction that the sport takes, given the immense amount of moving parts involved and motorsports’ uncertain future overall. That as long as there’s enough to enjoy at the core of the sport, I could withstand any amount of negatives that were ultimately secondary or superficial.

          Don’t know if that’s any sympathy for people who have been watching for nearly a decade more than me though!

          1. What I concluded was that F1 will never be in a position to please everyone with the direction that the sport takes….

            …. That as long as there’s enough to enjoy at the core of the sport, I could withstand any amount of negatives that were ultimately secondary or superficial.

            @ciaran I agree & that is always the view I have held but I think the problem now is how much of the new direction i’m not a fan of which is really starting to shift that balance where my perceived negatives outweigh the positives.

            When DRS & the high degredation tyre concept was introduced a decade ago I remember saying that for as much as I disliked those things (And still do) I still enjoyed enough about everything else that it wouldn’t be enough to make me think about switching off. But over the past decade so many of the additional things that have been/will be introduced be it the sprint, the point for fastest lap, the way the cost cap has been implemented, the engine freeze, the restrictive nature of the future regulations, the expansion of the calender, a lot of the newer venues & even smaller things like the recent overtaking award are things that have/will shift the balance for me & that is what is making me think about things a bit differently.

            We’ll see.

      3. @stefmeister I’ll have to watch sprint qualifying (family obligation), and I guess we’re going to end up commiserating together. To lose qualifying for something that appears to be prone to taking much of the tension out of the race is sad.

      4. Same. And it’s even on a track where you can’t overtake, except those out of position following poor qualifying.

    3. Wolff over explains trivial matters which gives the impression of there being issues which in reality don’t even exist.

      1. I didn’t worry too much when FLAP was awarded a point.
        It didn’t worry me either that only those with a free pit stop could go for FLAP, as it was still an honest FLAP.
        It starts to feel wrong when teams tell drivers on a fastest lap to slow down to make it easier for their other driver.
        Maybe just drop the flappoint for the WDC and leave it for WCC only (or drop WDC altogether).

        1. Or alternatively, I didn’t worry when a team made a driver throw away his points, the teams points, and the rest of his race to stop a rival driver getting the FLAP. Because that benefitted Max.
          Although I did feel it wrong when two team mates worked together to make sure the one who was in the WDC title battle got the FLAP. Because that didn’t benefit Max.
          In doing so I obviously ignored the reality that if Bottas had not slowed down, Ham would still have got the FLAP anyway by just driving faster.

          1. Exactly.
            With fresh tyres even just driving casually the lap time is very fast. I don’t believe there was any intention of Bottas to go for the fastest lap besides he is employed to drive fast. They could have given him a target time or slightly used tyres. Mercedes just know how to create a controversy out of fresh air.

            1. You are right – Bottas lifted off in the last sector – and told his engineer he was just playing. So a bit cheeky – but not a real flap attempt.

            2. He had 2 purple sectors before they told him to stop.

      2. It’s simply an answer to a question asked

      3. I believe it’s a message to Russell

    4. Not a Mercedes guy but I think it’s ridiculous VB couldn’t even try to get a fastest lap. Either way Mercedes gets the point. LH as an 7x wc can earn it on his own.( which of course he did). It’s shouldn’t be VB job to defer to LH at all times. He must be supremely frustrated by that by now. Good luck to him at AR …. At least he can be his own driver. I hope GR is a lot more like Rosberg. Toto is tiresome.

      Reply moderated
      1. If it was Ferrari everyone would be talking about it. But it’s Mercedes, they don’t have number 2 and number 1 drivers…

    5. What about Pourchaire if de Vries signed for Alfa Romeo?
      Kid is 10 times more talented than de Vries!
      Alfa going full Mercedes!
      Sauber Mercedes for 2023.?

    6. What will Alpine F1 do, if Oscar Piastri continues on the trajectory of his first F2 year 2021 (even if he doesn’t eventually win the Series Title, but is super-competitive and on the rise for the whole of his first year in F2. That, after taking the F3 crown in his maiden season 2020?

      Surely Alpine can’t afford to NOT have a Academy ‘next-gen’ in F1 to be in the Alpine pipeline for Alonso’s eventual (and unavoidable) retirement timeframe. With Alpine F1 having no other F1 junior team affiliates, where could that be?

      Seems nuts for Alpine F1 not to promote someone who is showing every indication that he is capable of doing a Leclerc or Russell-like series progression rate. We see how those guys are tuning out. This is a really serious predicament for Alpine as an F1 constructor team, quite frankly.

      1. Drivers have spent a year in DTM, Super Formula before, or even completely on the sidelines performing testing duties. I imagine FE will have some seats free as well.

        1. That is far from ideal. The open wheel Formula ladder goes (as intended) F3 –> F2 –> F1
          Spending a year outside of that ladder has potential to be permanent, rather than temporary, through no fault of the driver’s talent. That is the crux of the Alpine predicament in not having a second team in F1.

    7. One can reasonably suppose Valteri doesn’t give monkey’s any more; what Merc or Toto think, say or do any longer!

      1. yeah exactly, probably stopped caring around Spa…

    8. I missed the whole Alfa Romeo story being a parking space for Mercedes drivers. Will they switch engines next year?

      1. Mayrton I doubt. Mercedes would have four PU customers, although accommodation-wise, still enough lead time for a supplier change.

    9. The first sprint race event was superb and I really hope this week’s sprint can also deliver. Hopefully, it’s going to be a part of the regular F1 weekend from next season on already :)

      1. I don’t agree with you, and i was planning to watch nothing of Monza except the actual Sunday race, but who am I kidding, i will watch everything (except probably practice) as usual…

    10. “It could have ended up in a loss of a point for Lewis and it would have also been not right because he had fastest lap until then,” said Wolff.

      I was under the impression Hamilton couldn’t pit to get the fastest lap because if he did, Bottas would have overtaken him. He didn’t have a big enough gap…. Bottas had the gap so really should have pitted on the final lap and taken it.

      Why do they always have to lie about this sort of thing? They pitted Bottas when it wasn’t needed to create space for Hamilton and then asked Bottas to not use the new tyres to set a quick time just in case Hamilton had any issues on his fast lap. Fine, we get it. You wanted to make sure Hamilton got he extra point – why pretend that’s not the case?

      1. Mercedes could have just left Bottas on track and allowed to nurse his old tyres.
        There wasn’t anything wrong with what Mercedes did, just that it was not elegant.

        1. They called bottas in to avoid the possibility he passed Lewis when he would have dialled in for the flap.
          Embarrassing again.

          Now the story is: tire vibrations. Bottas did not even mentioned them. M

      2. I think you’re choosing to see lies where none exist – like many others. I really don’t understand why this is working you people up. Lewis needs every point he can get, the team knows it and they did what was required for him to get it. What is so complicated about this from a keyboard warrior perspective?

        1. What is so complicated about this from a keyboard warrior perspective?

          Your a keyboard warrior, so tell us!

        2. Emma

          I think you’re choosing to see lies where none exist – like many others.

          Oh, really? Were those truths?
          They just care about Hamilton and don’t admit.
          Lewis always blocked fast team mate at Mercedes but insists in saying the opposite.
          He wanted that point so badly (said it at loud on team radio) but declared that it doesn’t matter afterwards.
          Aren’t those lies?
          Too much of lies and they think they’ve fooled everybody.

          Reply moderated
      3. As we have seen before; and most people didn’t have a problem with, RB are prepared to sacrifice Perez and his race points to stop Ham getting FLAP. They are also prepared to throw away WCC points to benefit Max, and as Horner confirmed post race, they are also prepared to throw away a win to protect Max from Hamilton. As I am sure Mercedes are well aware of by now. Mercedes negated any attempt by RB to sacrifice Perez again by bringing Bottas into play if needed.

        1. ian dearing

          As we have seen before; and most people didn’t have a problem with, RB are prepared to sacrifice Perez and his race points to stop Ham getting FLAP. They are also prepared to throw away WCC points to benefit Max, and as Horner confirmed post race, they are also prepared to throw away a win to protect Max from Hamilton.

          At least they’re honest about their intentions. I partially disagree with those, but I don’t like all the holier than thou buzzwords about respect when the general attitude doesn’t back it up.

          Reply moderated
      4. @petebaldwin I believe they got a scare thinking about Austria 2002 when they were in Austria now and told Bottas not to overtake Hamilton. They immediately changed their mind when someone realized they might be booed for sacrificing a driver so early in the season.

        Now they are tip-toing around the subject and made sure to put Bottas back with a lie before it would be too an obvious swap later, and now pretend it was all fun and games that their serf had dared to speak back.

    11. Interesting if De Vries indeed signed yesterday.

    12. Perhaps I’m in a minority but I thought it was gross of Mercedes to badger Bottas to not go for the fastest lap so Hamilton could take it. Obviously by then he presumably knew he was leaving, so to be told that multiple times – and then have a “Valtteri its James” as well just seemed really off. Personally I’ve never been prouder of Bottas for taking the fastest lap initially – I wished he kept it.

      1. why? he’s not fighting for the championship.
        on the other hand, they could have just been straight with him on the radio

        1. he’s not fighting for the championship.

          Of course he is. With that attitude he does not even has to show up.

      2. He is still employed by Mercedes – and I applaud Bottas for not making a serious attempt for the flap. He lifted in the last sector and had no intention of mounting a serious attempt. I also admire him for showing he could have done had he wanted to. A bit like some drivers who are told to give up a place speeding up and showing their true pace before letting their teammate through – and making it very clear that they think the team is wrong. Bottas has always been a team player – I’m glad he has retained that.

      3. @rocketpanda If only Perez was as rebellious as Bottas and actually told RB to go f themselves every time they ask him to sacrifice his own race to help Verstappen. I’ll bet you’d love that.

        1. When Perez was asked in France, he already was moving and came on the radio to cheer Verstappen on. He obviously wanted to help.

          Bottas obviously did not.

          1. Well he was encouraged to eventually.

      4. If it were ferrari everyone would be up in arms over it. prove me wrong people, we all know it

      5. Yeah, they could at least have been honest about why they pitted him (to avoid having to ask him to move over to let Lewis through for p2 again when Hamilton pitted, possibly also to avoid a risk of losing Hamilton too much time to make that FLAP count) @f1osaurus, surely it was completely obvious to Bottas that was the only reason.

        It was kind of sad hearing Bottas talking about “safety reasons” almost without flinching after the race.

      6. @rocketpanda

        Perhaps I’m in a minority but I thought it was gross of Mercedes to badger Bottas to not go for the fastest lap so Hamilton could take it.

        Not as objectionable as Red Bull giving up a point for themselves and Sergio Perez by bringing him in for fresh tyres to take the fastest lap from Hamilton at Silverstone.

        1. Yeah I’d agree but we’re talking about Bottas and Mercedes.

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