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Bottas ignored team orders

NEWS STORY
17/03/2019

Despite scepticism over the return of awarding a championship point for the driver posting the fastest lap of the race, the drivers have realised that with a potential 21 points on offer over the course of the season, the idea is not to be sniffed at.

However, jittery at the best of times, ahead of today's race, Toto Wolff warned both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas that he didn't want them to risk their races by attempting to post the fastest race lap if they were already in podium positions.

In the latter stages of the race, already on course to take victory, Bottas made it clear he was looking at the full 26 points on offer for the win and the fastest lap.

The Finn was advised that there were clearly "games going on", with a number of fellow drivers eyeing the point.

Having seen off his challengers, on the penultimate lap of the race, Bottas posted a 1:25.580, a time that was not to be bettered.

"In the morning meeting when we talked about strategy, I forbade them to go for the fastest lap if we were running first, second or third," revealed Wolff after the race. "They ignored me. All of them!

"I think it was a plot between the engineers and drivers," he admitted, "because the engineers were keen. I need to reconstruct the radio calls and how that happened.

"At the end I'm very happy," he smiled. "Collecting that extra point is good, it's entertaining. It's a great new part of the spectacle.

"I believe that it's taking risks," he admitted. "Especially when you're aiming for the big points, should you go for the fastest lap? But then maybe my reference point in keeping control of a car is my own driving and not the level of the F1 drivers? I didn't like it so much."

Bottas insisted that points for a result remain the priority, but felt that his big lead gave him the opportunity to go for fastest lap."

"Obviously getting the big amount of points from the result itself is a much, much bigger priority," insisted Bottas. "And the second priority, the fastest lap. Once the gap to behind was decent there was enough margin to speak about that, and make a plan for that.

"I asked about a possible pit stop, but it's something that we actually spoke about before the race, that it's the first race of the season, we don't want to do silly mistakes, we want to be slightly on the conservative side with some preparations. Obviously we are still racing hard and being the best we can, but we need to make sure we get the best points.

"That's why we didn't stop in the end, because stopping again is always one more risk, whether at the same time there's a safety car, or an issue with the pitstop. I just decided in the last few laps, even though I was in traffic, trying to find a bit of a gap. I was pulling back, with some cars behind, went to some other engine modes, and went for a quick lap. I'm glad I got it, so it's obviously one point more."

Asked if he thinks the fastest lap point will add to the show, he replied: "I think it will.

"Obviously it's only top ten," he continued, "still I think always it's going to be priority to the position you finish the race, but there's a possibility for sure, everyone is keen to take one extra point."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Melbourne, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Trixi, 18/03/2019 19:19

"The radio chatter convinced me."

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2. Posted by @R1Racing71, 18/03/2019 10:56

"See, told you this fastest lap thing would be ok ;)"

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3. Posted by F1nerd, 18/03/2019 9:27

"Well done Val I like your new style, congratulations keep it up."

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