Wolff Reveals Valtteri Bottas’ Role in Handing Lewis Hamilton Sprint Quali F1 Win at Monza

Published 09/11/2021, 4:25 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 10, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas celebrates pole position for the sprint qualifying with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in second position REUTERS/Massimo Pinca


Late on Friday, Valtteri Bottas managed to oust his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, by quite a margin to clinch his first-ever speed king award. However, to his poor luck this season, whenever he does manage to produce such strong showings, he ends up facing one or the other issues that eventually sabotage his weekend.

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Well, a similar script is seemingly unfolding at Monza, as he is due to take a massive engine grid penalty ahead of Sunday’s main race. The Finn will start from last on the grid on Sunday irrespective of where he finishes in the sprint.

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

Hence, it looks like Bottas will yet again have to bend down to Mercedes’ team orders on Saturday afternoon. Mercedes’ boss, Toto Wolff, hinted that the Finn might have to play the role of a defender to keep Max Verstappen at bay. Of course, he did affirm that team orders would depend on how the Mercedes drivers start the race.

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But, that’s not it! There could be a swap coming late in the race between Hamilton and Bottas.

What did Mercedes’ team principal say?

Speaking to Sky Sports, Wolff affirmed that team orders are on cards for Bottas if the Finn fails to produce a decent getaway at lights out on Saturday.

It’s difficult generally when you have to call team orders because all of us are racers and we don’t want to see that,” Wolff said. “He should be where he is on merit.

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 10, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas after qualifying in pole position for the sprint qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron

But in any case, Valtteri is going anyway all the way to the back on Sunday. So we need to see how the start pans out because there is not too much to discuss. Just be careful in the first corner and then see where they are,” the Mercedes boss added.

In the end, Wolff also confessed that there are chances team orders would come into play even if Bottas was leading towards the end of the race. “Yeah, presumably,” he said.

Will Valtteri Bottas give his position up for Hamilton’s good?

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Well, the soon-to-be Alfa Romeo driver has pretty much nothing to lose at Mercedes. Moreover, he himself is amidst an intense battle for P3 against Lando Norris and Sergio Perez. So, every point would be a gem for Bottas. He mentioned the same post-qualifying session as well.

Formula One F1 – Italian Grand Prix – Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Monza, Italy – September 10, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas celebrates pole position for the sprint qualifying with his team Pool via REUTERS/Lars Baron

Of course, starting from the front, I’m expecting to get the maximum points tomorrow and then do the best job we can on Sunday,” he said. “The weekend started nicely and I’m happy.”

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Overall, a complicated session ahead for the Mercedes think tank. But, will this be the weekend where Bottas finally defies the team orders and lead his way to claim the crucial three points? Well, we’ll know soon enough.

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Rohit Kumar

1137 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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