Mercedes won't employ pre-race team orders for Monza F1 sprint

Mercedes wants to let the start of Formula 1's Italian Grand Prix sprint race play out before it considers team orders between Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes won't employ pre-race team orders for Monza F1 sprint

Bottas turned the tables on his world champion team-mate Hamilton with a brilliant lap to grab the top spot in Friday’s qualifying session at Monza.

And, with Hamilton locked in a close title fight with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, Mercedes may need to lean on Bottas to move aside in Saturday's sprint race to maximise his team-mate’s points haul.

Team orders are made more likely with Bottas having taken a fresh engine for the Monza event, which means he will start at the back of the grid for Sunday’s main grand prix whatever position he finishes in on Saturday.

But Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is clear that the team won’t hand out any orders to Bottas until after the start of Saturday’s race.

“It is difficult, generally, when you have to call team orders because all of us as racers, we don't want to see that,” Wolff told Sky.

“Everybody here should be aware he's [there] on merit. But, in this case, Valtteri is going all the way to the back on Sunday, so we need to see how the start pans out.

“There's not too much to discuss [beforehand]. Just be careful in the first corner, and then we'll see where they are.”

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, talk in the garage

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, and Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, talk in the garage

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Asked if Mercedes would order Bottas aside if the situation allowed later on, Wolff said: “Yeah presumably.”

Wolff also praised the way that Bottas handled himself through qualifying, and reckoned that the Finn has been helped by being "free" of concerns over his contract now that his future at Alfa Romeo has been assured.

PLUS: Why Alfa Romeo has picked Bottas to be its 2022 F1 "leader"

“He was really free,” said Wolff. “He took a lot of risk on the first lap [in Q3] and went a bit wide, and then in his calm attitude he said: ‘If I have a tow, I can go three tenths faster’. So he had a tow.”

The decision to move Bottas on to a fresh power unit was partly triggered by the fact that Monza is a sprint race weekend, which meant the Finn still had an important role to play in qualifying.

Explaining the decision, Wolff said: “We had a little bit of a worry because we wouldn't have taken it otherwise. And in the sprint races format, it's quite good because you have to take the penalty only for Sunday.”

shares
comments

Related video

Norris: Narrowly missing P3 in Monza F1 qualifying "sucks"

Previous article

Norris: Narrowly missing P3 in Monza F1 qualifying "sucks"

Next article

Horner praises Perez "sacrificing half a second" for Verstappen tow

Horner praises Perez "sacrificing half a second" for Verstappen tow
Load comments
How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus Plus

How F1’s other champion to emerge from 1991 thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Plus

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021