Wolff: Bottas fastest lap attempt ‘cheeky, but understandable’
Toto Wolff says that Valtteri Bottas’ fastest lap attempt in the closing stages of the Dutch Grand Prix was “a bit cheeky”, but the Mercedes F1 boss won’t hold the push against the Finn.
Bottas was called in by his team on lap 67 of 72 for a precautionary pit stop, with his crew swapping his medium tyres for a set of softs, a change that the Mercedes driver saw as an opportunity to snatch a championship point for fastest lap.
But the Finn was ordered to abort his attempt to give Hamilton a chance to secure the extra point after his own stop for soft rubber on lap 70.
While Bottas did indeed lift, the Finn’s aborted effort was still credited with the fastest lap.
“That was a bit cheeky, but understandable,” said Wolff. Valtteri is always on the receiving end because this championship is so tight.
“He lifted off massively in the last sector, and it was clear that Lewis would do the quickest lap and Valtteri knew about it.
“At the end, Lewis in his fight for the drivers’ championship got the point, and it’s all good.”
Wolff said the team would address the issue internally.
“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,” added the Austrian.
“But you have to understand also at that point, there’s 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.”
After the race, Hamilton said that he was unaware of Bottas’ attempt, but insisted that it was of little importance to the Mercedes team as a whole.
“I had no idea, but it doesn’t really matter. If Valtteri had got it, it would have been fine,” commented the Briton.
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“At the end of the day, we needed to get the fastest lap, as many points as we can as a team.
“So if Valtteri gets it or I get it, it doesn’t really make a huge difference. I didn’t even know that Valtteri stopped. I was completely unaware of that.
“It was my choice to stop. I needed that extra point. So I did. It was fine.”
Read also: Hamilton ‘gave it absolutely everything’, Red Bull ‘too fast
On the other side of the Mercedes garage, Bottas, who had radioed in to ask his team why he had to abort, claimed that he had just been “playing around” in the first part of his fast lap flyer.
“I was pushing on the first lap in sector one and two like flat out,” he explained. And then they started asking me to slow down at the end of the lap.
“I was playing around really. Obviously Lewis needs that one extra point more than me.
“He’s fighting for the world championship for drivers. As a team, we’re trying to get maximum points. That’s how it is.
“I knew Lewis was going to stop as well. That information I had. I knew that with a decent amount of lifting in the last sector, he would get it. No drama.”
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