Bottas and Verstappen fastest lap duel simply ‘playing games’

Red Bull and Mercedes admit there was a bit of ‘playing around’ over fastest lap in Formula 1’s Mexican Grand Prix, but insist their drivers played it by the book.

Bottas and Verstappen fastest lap duel simply ‘playing games’

With the world championship battle between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton so close, their team-mates have been used at races this year to try to take away fastest lap points.

In Mexico, with Valtteri Bottas outside of the points following his Turn 1 incident, Mercedes made a late switch to softs for the Finn to take the fastest lap away from Verstappen.

Read Also:

But, during his first attempt to set a time, Verstappen knew that Bottas was close behind him on track so backed off in front of the Finn – scuppering his hopes.

Bottas then passed Verstappen, who then argued that the Mercedes driver should follow blue flag rules and slow down to let him back through.

In the end, Mercedes elected to pit Bottas again to try to find him some clear air – which they did and he duly secured the fastest lap.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said he did not see anything wrong in what Verstappen did.

“Yeah, it was a bit of playing around,” he explained.

“Max was aware that Valtteri was going for quickest lap and he then slowed him down, which is absolutely on, he can do that.

“So we went for another set, and this time in free air grabbed that fastest lap back.”

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner explained that those moments with Bottas were a cause of brief concern, but in the end reckoned it was handled well.

“It certainly didn't help our blood pressure on the pit wall,” he said.

“Obviously there was a little bit of playing around, because Max was keen to retain the fastest lap.

“So therefore he was trying to use the blue flag to ensure that Valtteri gave way to him, and then Mercedes pitted him out of the way. We weren't going to do the same with Max, obviously.

“It was a little bit of gamesmanship again, haggling over that final point, which we didn't want to get too drawn into.”

Verstappen himself said he was well aware in the race what Bottas was up to, but was never worried about any potential contact.

“I can understand, of course, they go for the fastest lap,” he said.

“So, the first time it didn’t work out. But we played it safe, I think.

“We were side by side but it was all good. We lost a lot of time but it was alright, to be honest, for me. I know Valtteri, he’s a clean driver anyway and I never was in doubt that something would happen.”

shares
comments

Related video

Bottas aiming for Abu Dhabi F1 test debut with Alfa Romeo
Previous article

Bottas aiming for Abu Dhabi F1 test debut with Alfa Romeo

Next article

Leclerc explains delay in team orders swap with Sainz in Mexican GP

Leclerc explains delay in team orders swap with Sainz in Mexican GP
Load comments
Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems Plus

Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway. But instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Plus

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021 Plus

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in F1 2021

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as STUART CODLING finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton Plus

The original F1 maestro who set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls a remarkable champion

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Plus

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Autosport heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022