Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says he wishes he’d called off the fight between Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas sooner.
The pair were leading the race after the final Safety Car period when Mercedes told Bottas to hold position behind Hamilton. Race strategies James Vowles told Bottas to “please hold position”, adding, “I’m sorry.”
“The last three races we had so much bad luck, we lost so many points,” he told Sky. “At that stage it was still raining a little bit and we didn’t want to have a fight.
“We got it anyway. We said guys let’s bring it home, even though we love seeing them racing.”
“If I could I would have stopped it earlier but I didn’t expect Valtteri to go so hard,” Wolff added. “This is the racer instinct. And it shows the two are allowed to race each other but when it was closer I thought ‘let’s stop it there’.”
Wolff praised’s Hamilton’s performance in climbing from 14th on the grid to take victory.
“On the soft he made his way through the field with a calm approach, position by position. Then obviously the right timing and the right decision of not pitting.”
The team’s strategic calls were “absolutely brilliant”, said Wolff.
“Of course splitting the cars at that moment and in the confusion of the messages, this is the team all working together and taking the right decisions after the bad luck we had in the last races, we just got it back all today.”
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