With Max Verstappen in control out front on his way to a home victory, Mercedes decided to bring both of its cars in for a precautionary pitstop in the closing stages of Sunday’s race at Zandvoort.

Bottas stopped first and was ordered not to go for the bonus point for setting the fastest lap, which was held at that stage by teammate Hamilton.

The Finn appeared to ignore the instruction as he went purple in sectors one and two before Mercedes strategy director James Vowles was heard asking Bottas over team radio to “please abort the fastest lap attempt”.

Although Bottas backed out coming out of the final corner, he still posted a new fastest lap. It meant Hamilton, who on the penultimate lap of the race, had one-shot at reclaiming the point.

Hamilton went on to produce a 1m11.097s to better Bottas previous best (a 1m12.549s) by 1.4 seconds and limit the championship points loss to Verstappen, who holds a three-point advantage in the standings heading into next weekend’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza.

Bottas said he lifted enough in the final sector to ensure Hamilton’s bonus point for the fastest lap was never truly in danger.


“I thought initially we were stopping for the fastest lap, but then Lewis too had a gap and he stopped,” Bottas explained.

“I was pushing on the first lap on sector one and sector two, like flat out, but then the team asked me to slow down at the end of the lap.

“I was just playing around really, because Lewis needed that extra point more than me. He’s fighting for the driver’s championship and as a team we’re trying to get maximum points, so that’s how it is.

“I knew Lewis was going to stop, as well. I knew that if I did a decent amount of lifting on the last sector, he would get it, so, no drama.”

Despite at one stage coming over his team radio to tell Mercedes: “I need that point”, Hamilton insisted he was ultimately unconcerned about the prospect Bottas could have taken the point away from him.

“I had no idea but it doesn’t really matter,” Hamilton said. “If Valtteri had got it, that would have been fine.

“At the end of the day we needed to get the fastest lap, as many points as we can as a team. So if Valtteri gets it or I get it, it doesn’t really make a huge difference.

“But as I said I didn’t even know that Valtteri had stopped, I was completely unaware of that. It was my choice to stop, I needed that extra point, so I did, and it’s fine.”


Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff described Bottas’ late fastest lap as “cheeky but understandable” given he had endured another frustrating race being forced to play the team game to support Hamilton’s championship bid.

“It was a bit cheeky but understandable,” Wolff said. “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. Lewis in his fight for the championship got the point and it’s all good.”

Although he downplayed the incident, Wolff confirmed the team would discuss what happened internally to clear up the matter in “the most amicable and professional way”.

“It couldn’t have ended up in a loss of a point for Lewis,” Wolff admitted. “It would have also been not right because he had fastest lap until then.

“But you have to understand at that point the certain degree of frustration from Valtteri and in the end everything is good.

“We are going to talk about it, but in the most amicable and professional way.”