Lewis Hamilton doubts he will give much attention to the bonus point awarded for setting the fastest lap of the race in Formula 1 this year.

In a new rule for the 2019 season, the driver who sets the fastest lap of the race now picks up an additional point, allowing for an additional 21 points to be scored across the course of the season.

Valtteri Bottas, Pierre Gasly and Charles Leclerc have managed to pick up an extra point at the opening four races of the year.

In both China and Azerbaijan, the driver running at the back of the leading pack of cars opted to pit late on for a fresh set of tyres before going for the fastest lap, making the most of a free pit stop.

Hamilton said he expected the bonus point to go to drivers who employed this strategy at races, making it fruitless to try and pay attention to it while fighting at the front of the pack.

“I didn’t think about it,” Hamilton said after the race in Baku, where he finished second.

“In these four races, we’ve understood what happens is usually towards the end of the race, if someone has a free stop, they stop and take it.

“So I just focus on trying to get maximum race points.

“I don’t think this is going to be a focus for me through the rest of the year.”

Hamilton currently sits second in the F1 drivers’ championship, one point behind Mercedes teammate Bottas, who picked up the fastest lap bonus at the season-opener in Australia.

Red Bull driver Pierre Gasly took advantage of a free stop to score his first F1 fastest lap at the Chinese Grand Prix last month, and explained in Baku that it was fun to chase down a lap on low fuel and fresh tyres.

“We had a free pit stop, which is why we decided to do it. I guess we’ll see more of that this season,” Gasly said.

“They told me the target and then after with the delta lap time on the dash more or less what to expect. Coming into the last straight, I saw I was up, and I was good to do it.

“It’s just making sure you can do it without overpushing. You just know the target lap time you’ve got to do.

“It’s pretty cool. When you have nothing to lose, it’s pretty cool. We managed to take one point from Ferrari and add one to ours, so managed to get two points from them.

“I think it was a great strategy.”



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