Valtteri Bottas Cheekily Responds After Almost Defying Mercedes F1 Team Orders at Dutch GP

Published 09/05/2021, 1:28 PM EDT
Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – April 15, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas walks around the track ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane


Valtteri Bottas finished the Dutch Grand Prix in P3 at Zandvoort. He was never really on the pace with his teammate Lewis Hamilton and race winner Max Verstappen. But he made things quite interesting by going for the fastest lap at the end.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Bottas pitted at lap 70 of 72 to go for the fastest lap, but on his hot run, he was told to abort the effort. Mercedes team chief strategist James Vowles came on team radio to abort the fastest lap so Hamilton could get the fastest lap and the extra point.

WATCH STORY: F1 Drivers Fighting on Track

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Valtteri Bottas “was playing around”

Bottas played the team game and sacrificed his race to help his teammate Hamilton as much as possible in his fight with Verstappen. In the post-race interview, Bottas mentioned that he did not go for the fastest lap.

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

“I was pushing on the first lap in sectors 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,” said Bottas.

DIVE DEEPER

Why Do Mercedes Dominate F1?

9 months ago

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

I just think wanted to make sure it was not happening: Toto Wolff

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff also stated that Bottas did not defy team orders in his quest to get the fastest lap. He mentioned that he came on the team radio to re-emphasize his point to Valtteri.

Formula One F1 – Dutch Grand Prix – Circuit Zandvoort, Zandvoort, Netherlands – September 5, 2021, Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff arrives at the circuit REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

That was a bit cheeky but understandable. 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

“In the end, Lewis in his fight for the drivers’ championship got the point, and it’s all good,” said Wolff.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Devang Chauhan

344 articles

Devang Chauhan is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having completed his graduation in Journalism and Mass Communication, he has a keen eye for writing engaging and detailed articles on F1. Previously a writer for Sports Social's 'Chase Your Sport' Magazine, Devang has been an ardent follower of the sport for over a decade and has attended two editions of the Indian Grand Prix.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT