Vettel calls Mercedes team orders a ‘no-brainer’

Adjust Comment Print

After the awkwardness of Sunday's Russian Grand Prix had settled, Toto Wolff summed up well just why Mercedes-GP had instructed Valtteri Bottas to move out of the way for Lewis Hamilton to allow the Briton to win in Sochi.

But Sebastian Vettel, by contrast, described the strategy call as a "no-brainer".

LEWIS HAMILTON has told Valtteri Bottas that he will return the winning favour when he has secured his fifth world championship.

The Briton, who extended his championship lead over rival Sebastian Vettel to 50 points by winning at Sochi, called it "a hard day" for him and the team.

"I think the other side [Mercedes] have been very good at communicating that they have an inferior auto but I don't think that was the case".

Asked by Autosport if the way it was handled was the main issue, Bottas said: "Yeah, it was slightly confusing. I think we have to make a step back after Sochi, fly back home, analyse and say what can we learn from a day like today".

"Just the way the season has gone put us into this situation and it happened because of many races before".

"Lewis is fighting for the championship and I am not so from the team's point of view it was the ideal result, but maybe not ideal for me", Bottas said. We've had a one-two, we've dominated as a team this weekend, the team have done an incredible job and it's never, ever in my whole life how I've wanted to win a race. He would lose second place to Sebastian (Vettel) and that wouldn't be ideal for both of the championships, so I think that was the worry but I think in the end it proved that actually it wasn't that bad.

After 12 laps Bottas was the first of the leaders to pit for new tyres with Vettel following him in a lap later, and Hamilton stopping at the end of lap 14. Valtteri was a real gentleman to let me through.

The decisive intervention came on lap 23 of 53 in the race. F1's most successful driver Michael Schumacher was at the head of controversy surrounding team orders at the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix.

Bottas said he was fine with an earlier order to back up Vettel as Hamilton prepared to pit because it was only to get Hamilton ahead of the Ferrari but not into the lead.

The Ferrari pilot Sebastian Vettel decided not to shake hands with the President of Russian Federation after the finish at the Grand Prix in Sochi.

Wolff said: "Rationally it was the right call, but our sporting heart says no".

"We got a 1-2 and fundamentally we are, but we also feel it went against Valtteri".

"I can see in the years when we did it we were leading so much that people thought it was unnecessary - I can agree on that in a way".