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Valtteri Bottas

Why didn't Mercedes pit Bottas for fastest lap in France?

Mercedes have explained why they opted against pitting Valtteri Bottas for the fastest lap point after being overtaken by Sergio Perez in France.

Bottas France
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To news overview © Mercedes

Mercedes have revealed their logic behind not pitting Valtteri Bottas for the extra fastest lap point in France, after the Finn fell down to fourth place towards the end of the race.

Despite no risk of losing out to fifth place behind, Bottas was left out on track and missed out on an apparent easy extra points for fastest lap and taking that away from Red Bull's Max Verstappen. Mercedes have explained why they made that choice.

"You have seen that this is something that we do quite often because typically either us or Red Bull has got a free stop and they can take that fourth place with an extra point," explained Mercedes' Head of Trackside Engineering Andrew Shovlin.

"We were talking about it and we were ready for it, but when Sergio had passed Valtteri, he’d gone four wheels off track in Turn 10 and that was the point that we had raised with Race Control, whether he was going off track to actually make the pass and gaining a lasting advantage."

With Mercedes considering a penalty for Perez was a possibility as a result of running so wide while passing Bottas, they elected not to take themselves out of range of the Red Bull.

"Now, while they were contemplating that and ultimately, they decided that no further action was necessary, but in that period, we lost the window where we would have actually had to stop Valtteri," Shovlin said.

"If they had given Sergio a five second penalty, we would have wanted to be within that five second window, and by stopping we would have dropped out. It was really just unfortunate timing at the end, while those discussions were going on, we missed the point where we would have had to come in and take new tyres.”

The FIA's Race Director Michael Masi confirmed that the stewards did have a look at Perez's overtake on Bottas, but didn't feel it merited a penalty.

"The students deemed that the overtaking maneuver had actually been completed, firstly, before Sergio left the track," he said.

"Once he did leave the track, the stewards also deemed that he gave back any lasting advantage immediately. So, accordingly, they found that no further action was required in that circumstance."

F1 2021 French Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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