F1 motorsport director Ross Brawn has said that the new point for fastest lap, reinstated for this season, was a good decision and that it really works.
Red Bull's Pierre Gasly grabbed the point for fastest lap in China, when he pitted from sixth place with three laps to go and grabbed the bonus point.
The team made the decision to pit Gasly with a handful of laps to go as he had a comfortable gap over the seventh-placed Renault of Daniel Ricciardo, coming out with fresh tyres and going on to take the bonus point from Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.
“I was particularly pleased to see that the innovation introduced in partnership with the FIA for this season, that of awarding a point to the driver setting the fastest race lap, is beginning to have an effect,” Brawn said after the race.
“The lure of an extra point, as long as it’s set by a driver who is in the top 10 at the flag, was driven by the desire to add a bit of spice to the final stages of a race, especially when the order seems more or less set. China worked out just that way."
The bonus point for fastest lap was met with some criticism when it was announced that the point was set for a return in 2019, despite not being awarded in F1 since 1959. For now, the point is only awarded to a driver if they finish within the top 10.
“It was great to watch the timing screens on the penultimate lap, seeing Gasly post personal bests in all three sectors to eventually steal the fastest lap from Sebastian Vettel," Brawn added.
“Prior to Gasly’s stop, you could also listen to other drivers discussing their options in the closing stages with their team on the pit wall, even though none of them took any extreme risks. This was a rule invented to please the fans and I think that today we saw that it really works.”