Lewis Hamilton admitted in a post-race interview that teammate Valtteri Bottas taking over the fastest lap of the race would not have been a problem since the bonus point would still end up in Mercedes’ pocket.
Bottas had a late pitstop during the Dutch Grand Prix to fit soft tires. Making a driver outside the pit window of his predecessor pit late in the race to have a shot at claiming the fastest lap on soft tires is a common practice in F1. However, when your teammate is fighting for the championship and is already the holder of the fastest lap, taking the bonus point away from him can be a questionable move.
In the very last laps of the race, as teammate Hamilton was the current holder of the fastest lap, the Finnish Mercedes driver started to light up all three sectors in purple after a late pit stop. The 32-year-old was therefore asked to lift the foot in the last sector to avoid taking over the bonus point awarded to the fastest lap holder.
Although he listened to his team, Bottas still claimed the fastest lap before Hamilton also decided to pit to have a shot at regaining his bonus point. In a post-race interview, a calm Hamilton admitted he did not know Bottas had just scored the fastest lap when he pitted but would not have been mad at his teammate if he was unable to regain it.
“It doesn’t really matter. If Valtteri had got it, that would have been fine,” Hamilton said.
“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.”
On his side, Bottas also denied having tried to rebel against his team by not listening to the strategist that asked him to lift the foot at the end of his lap. The Finn emphasized that he knew Hamilton was going to pit and voluntarily lifted his foot a bit at the end of his lap, knowing his teammate would be able to beat his lap time.
“I knew Lewis was going to stop as well, that information I had, and I knew that with a decent amount of lifting in the last sector, he would get it. So no drama,” Bottas said.