Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says he would have given the same “hold position” order to his drivers in the German Grand Prix had they been running in the opposite order.
Valtteri Bottas was told to follow team mate Lewis Hamilton home in the closing stages of the German Grand Prix.
“No, absolutely not,” he said. “If it would have been the other way around with Valterri in the lead and Lewis second we would have made the same call. Identical call. It was about bringing it home, we respected who was in the front.”
The team’s priority was “to score the one-two in order to recover some of the points that we lost to bad luck,” Wolff added.
The decision to freeze the running order with Hamilton ahead does not show the team will favour Hamilton in future races, he added.
“Racing is most important. We always said that if the championship goes into its last third or last quarter and there is a big difference between the drivers then we might make this uncomfortable call.
“But it’s much too early in the season to do this. Today we did it in order to bring a one-two home. As I said, we would have done it the other way around.”
Ferrari also imposed team orders on their drivers during yesterday’s race, telling Kimi Raikkonen to let Sebastian Vettel past at one stage. Wolff said this decision was “also a very difficult call” for Mercedes’ rivals.
“On one side went want to optimise the result and that is what you need to do but on the other side you need to give both drivers a chance to win the race.
“Kimi was unlucky in a few races at the beginning of the season where the strategy went against him and I think Ferrari struggled to come up with the right call there. It’s understandable.”
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