Bottas, Hamilton and Wolff comment on “cheeky” fastest lap attempt

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Valtteri Bottas was asked by Mercedes to abort his fastest lap attempt, after the team already told him not to go for it in the first place.

In the final laps of the Dutch Grand Prix Mercedes called Valtteri Bottas in for a final tyre change, but they also instructed him not to attempt a fastest lap, as the team wanted Lewis Hamilton to get it due to his close title battle with Max Verstappen.

However Bottas proceeded to set fastest sector times which prompted Mercedes’ strategy director James Vowles to again tell him to abort the attempt.

The Finn lifted in the final sector, but got the fastest lap anyway. However, Lewis managed to get it for himself in the final lap of the race.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff says what Bottas did was a bit “cheeky”.

“That was a bit cheeky, but understandable,” the Austrian said.

“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.

“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.

“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,” concluded Wolff.

After the race Lewis said he was unaware of the whole situation while he was in the car.

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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,” Hamilton said.

“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,” concluded Lewis.

Finally, Bottas also gave his comments on the situation, and he admitted he was “playing around”.

“To be honest, there was quite a big gap behind so for safety reasons, it was a good thing to stop,” the Finn said.

“I think I could have made it to the end much faster than by stopping but in the end, it was the same.

“I thought initially we would stop for the fastest lap but then also Lewis had a gap so Lewis stopped.

“I was pushing on the first lap in sector one and two like flat out. 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,” concluded Bottas.

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