‘Fastest lap point livened up the closing stages’

'Fastest lap point livened up the closing stages'

'Fastest lap point livened up the closing stages'

Ross Brawn believes the decision to award a point for the fastest lap of the race “livened up” the closing stages of Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix.

This season Formula 1 is awarding a single point to the driver who clocks the fastest lap at each grand prix, however, they have to finish inside the top ten.

Valtteri Bottas claimed the first point as he ignored team orders from Toto Wolff, determined to bag the maximum 26 points.

He wasn’t the only driver going for it with Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen also in the hunt while commentators were wondering if Ferrari would give it a go given their gap to sixth place.

F1 sporting boss Brawn told Motorsport.com: “The return to awarding a point to the driver and team who set the race fastest lap livened up the closing stages of the race, as Verstappen tried to nudge out Bottas, who had his hands on that particular prize.

“In a race in which the podium positions seemed set from early on, the fight to claim that one extra point, in the knowledge that it could be vitally important in the closing stages of the championship, certainly livened up the closing stages of the race.

“That was exactly what we and the FIA had in mind when it came up with the idea.”

The former Ferrari and Mercedes man also weighed in on the new aerodynamic regulations.

Australia was the first competitive outing of F1’s new wings and bargeboards with 14 overtakes during the grand prix as opposed to last year’s three.

Brawn said: “The initial signs are encouraging, especially as apart from the actual overtakes; we saw some thrilling battles.

“Clearly those weren’t all down to the new aerodynamics, as the performance of the midfield teams especially has closed up dramatically.

“However, several drivers said the cars felt more neutral when following another when compared to previous years.

“Here too, the Australian track isn’t the most accurate test, so I’d prefer to wait for at least another three races before drawing any conclusions. However, the initial signs are encouraging.”

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