Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2018

Mercedes were prepared to let Bottas beat Hamilton – Wolff

2018 Russian Grand Prix

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says the team would have let Valtteri Bottas win the race ahead of Lewis Hamilton if it hadn’t been necessary to swap their positions because of the threat from Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton feel behind Vettel during the pit stops then re-passed the Ferrari on the track, but damaged his tyres while doing so. This, Wolff said, was the reason they told Bottas to let Hamilton by, protecting him from his championship rival.

“We told them that they can race each other, just be careful with each other,” Wolff told media including RaceFans after today’s race. “[Remember] the situation we are in for the championship, the drivers’ and the constructors’ championship.

“And we also told Valtteri that if everything panned out and we were running one and two at the end of the race then we would leave it like this. Unless we felt under threat from Vettel.”

The threat from Vettel materialised when the team noticed a blister developing on Hamilton’s left-rear tyre after he passed the Ferrari. He had to pass Vettel because he lost a position by pitting on the lap after his rival.

“We were a lap too late with Lewis and I take it on me,” said Wolff, “because I was engaging with James [Vowles, strategist] in a conversation when I should have made the call and in this way Lewis came in a lap too late and lost position.”

“Lewis worked hard to get past Sebastian, he did an awesome move but blistered the tyres and then we were in a situation with Valtteri in front with fresher tyres, Lewis behind with a blistered rear and Sebastian all over Lewis.”

Mercedes used team orders in Hungary last year when Bottas was told to let Hamilton by. Later in the race they swapped the cars back to their original positions. In response to a question from RaceFans, Wolff explained why that didn’t happen on this occasion.

“In Budapest we said ‘if he can’t make it past Raikkonen then we’ll swap back’ and I wanted to make it good to my word. But that was Budapest, mid-season and here we are in Sochi towards the end of the season.

“And I thought about it but in the end you need to consider the championship. Because in the end if there are five points missing then you’re the biggest idiot on the planet for having prioritised Valtteri’s single race result over the championship.”

“Sometimes somebody needs to be the baddy and it’s me today,” Wolff added. “It’s a case of do I want to be the baddy on Sunday evening, for many reasons, or do I want to be the idiot in Abu Dhabi? I’d rather be the baddy today and not the idiot at the end of the year.”

@HazelSouthwell contributed to this article.

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Dieter Rencken
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115 comments on “Mercedes were prepared to let Bottas beat Hamilton – Wolff”

  1. Tutu Wolff was never going to let Bottas win a Mercedes 1-2 today.

    He must think the audience are fools.

    He even admits it at the end saying he’d look stupid if they let Bottas win only to lose the drivers championship at year’s end.

    1. Have some respect and use Toto’s proper name, you write like a child.

      1. @ju88sy

        I kinda like Tutu, it suggests a funny image of him.

        I’d also be careful assuming everyone thinks simple childish name calling is a problem. Nearly half of American’s were happy with it in 2016.

    2. Anon, you also consistently refer to Lewis Hamilton as ‘hammy’ despite seemingly being capable of using the correct names for the other drivers. At least be consistent, how about ‘Botty’, ‘Vetty’ and ‘Raiky’, not forgetting those greats of the past, ‘Senny wenny’, Prosty wosty’ and Fangi wangi’.

      No wonder you choose to be anonymous…

    3. Tutu Wolf

      anon doesn’t have class at the best of times but sexism is a new low even for them. Tut tut.

  2. @anon: i think you are quite a bit sour lemon… he clearly said those metaphorically… they were strategic decisions based on risks… they are there to win of course, risking one over the other is not a clever decision… but we know you are hardcore merc/ham hater… so only fool who cant see this is on the table up for grabs…

    1. No sour lemons, just the fact that when Ferrari did anything remotely similar they were roundlly condemned by Sky and all english-speaking and some italian press as well for using team orders in favour of Vettel. The perception has been created since Vettel’s Red Bull days that he wants teams to work for him alone and that’s why he wins. The same outrage has never been directed at Mercedes who have been using Bottas as a wingman whose sole purpose of existence on track is to help Lewis win. All were quick to express their pain and sorrow at Raikonnen being treated unfairly. Very little of that, if any, is seen even today about Bottas. The justification: Ferrari does it all the time! But if you complained when Ferrari did it, why use it to justify Lewis’ win today? Yes Ferrari used team orders, much more hesitantly than Mercedes today (in the Vettel era). At Monza, a crucial place to get victory for Ferrari, Kimi did not even allow Vettel to take the lead at the start and went for the win. People have to decide. It can’t be “the right thing to do to win championships” when MB does it, and “oh, what a shame” when FE does it. But I mean, it is an attitude that we’ve come to expect.

      1. And then I see people on this very site denying that there is criticism for Ferrari’s team orders.

      2. “Anything remotely similar”… In the Ferrari/Schumacher era.. this was every 5th victory for him. In the Alonso era, Massa was routinely given a sub-optimal strategy if it gave Alonso a better chance at victory. Currently with Vettel, Ferrari often do the same to Raikkonen if they think there will be something to gain for Vettel. AND Raikkonen was told to move aside for Vettel too this year. By my count, there have been team orders that favored Hamilton three times this year (Italy, Hungary and Russia). In Italy, the team order didn’t hurt Bottas’ strategy and he wasn’t directly racing Hamilton.
        At the end of the day, these teams are trying to win championships…. and sometimes the wins aren’t pretty, but that’s what it takes.
        To say one team is doing this and the others aren’t is just plain biased. You may not like the result, or how it was achieved, but stop pretending YOUR team doesn’t do it too. They all do it.

        1. Ferrari have very rarely implemented team orders to help Vettel.

          The only instance I can think of is moving Raikkonen over in Hockenheim where Vettel proceeded to pull away from him at over a second per lap.

          Mercedes have routinely used team orders to benefit Hammy over the past two years.

          I don’t think a team has used team orders to benefit one driver as consistently as Mercedes has done over the past two years.

          1. You are just wrong

          2. Stop with the lies please.

  3. Sure, they felt under pressure from Vettel. Right.

    Sorry, Toto, but you for me this squandered the goodwill you have built up for mostly letting your guys race unless it really feels urgent.

    Today Hamilton easily repassed Vettel, and Vettel never really looked like he could do much about it after that. Hamilton was running ahead and is in a comfortable lead in the championship with a car that is currently more or less as fast as the ferrari with either car nudging ahead based on things like the layout, temperatures and how they manage to use the tyres.

    Maybe if Vettel had been ahead and they had wanted to minimize the points loss, but really extending the lead from 40 to 50 points instead of to 43 points does not feel anywhere near as urgent as to make it something you have to do for the championship.

    1. I think that’s all to simple to say @bascb

      Look at RedBull today, if they didn’t start at the back they had the pace to win or get a podium at least. They were strong in Brazil and Mexico last year too, as were Ferrari.

      It’s all good to moan about the result today but if we get to any of the remaining races and Ferrari are quicker plus RedBull are in the mix then those 7 points could become huge.

      That’s the difference between 3rd and 6th as a race result. If Mercedes do need that result to win the Championship they can easily finish top 6 whereas p3 could be much harder.

      I hate to see team orders but it does make perfect sense and they still are under pressure from Ferrari.

      1. Wrong Tom. If Red Bull did not have to start at the back their races would have been completely different.

        First of all, they would have strated on the hypersofts, meaning they would have stopped almost certainly around the time the others also did. One of them might have gotten ahead of someone at the start, and maybe would have had a chance of beating Kimi. But that’s it.

        And what if Red bull is fast – had both cars been ahead of Hamilton then he could have been quite calm anyway since he was ahead of Vettel and to keep his championship fight really alive Vettel badly needed to catch up, not lose another point or two. Hamilton doesn’t need to win any races. He just needs to finish ahead of Vettel and there is nothing Ferrari or Vettel can do to him.

        1. Again @bascb that’s very short sighted. The RedBull pace was there and even on the same tyre strategy they could have been in the mix. RedBull are also known for mixing things up and with the penalties to other teams they might have been able to make q3 on the softs and remain on the same strategy they used today.

          My point on future races was focused on how everyone assumes this is just between Hamilton and Vettel. If RedBull have their Japan, Mexico and Brazil pace from last year they can really mix things up which could make those 7points more valuable. Sure that could help Hamilton but it could also cost him. Point is it’s another variable which shows why Mercedes would do what they did today.

          1. Tom, @bascb has better analysis of the might have been. Redbull were most likely to have started on the hypersofts. Hypersoft performance under full fuel loads is not the same as the soft tyre. They would have had to stop quite early and would not have had the track positions they had around the middle of the race. The point is that they appeared to have performed well on similar tyres in the race but one should not discount the impact of the fuel loads. Challenging for the win could have been a tall order.

      2. Red bull were strong in 2017 brazil, what? It was one of the weakest races of the later part of the year, verstappen couldn’t defend himself from a recovering hamilton who started in the pit lane!

    2. Fans are uneducated in motorsport if they can’t see why this is the move that had to be made. You take the maximum in the drivers championship AND the constructor’s championship. Lewis can always repay the favor to Bottas later this year if and when the drivers championship is locked up, giving up 1st place and giving the victory to Bottas on that day the win he deserved today….until then, there is no debate.

      1. Do you really think Bottas will be pleased if he wins a gp later this year, because Hamilton let’s him pass.
        He’ll probably look and feel the same as today. I hope he’s a sportsman and that he wants to win because he’s the best that day. Just like he was today.

        1. I didn’t said Bottas would “feel better”, nor should he….he deserved the victory, as he had done everything to achieve it. But the bottom line is he isn’t in shouting distance of the championship, and his teammate is. Bottom line.

          Everybody can see what it is, and in fairness, he and Lewis know the deal, and if the favor can be re-payed later, it will be done and he will have in the end the points and the win he deserved today. Bottas isn’t an imbecile, he knows that if he’s far behind in points, he is the number two and he has to play that role.

        2. I believe he’ll be as happy as Hamilton was yesterday. Not much.

      2. Mercedes will be looking at all the possible ways they can lose the championship, and then taking NO chances. Logical and professional.

      3. I strongly disagree @medman. I think we can easily see the difference between Kimi, who is wholly unmotivated to even try to beat Seb (because he won’t be allowed to keep it anyway) and Bottas.

        Bottas is still finishing ahead of Vettel, and keeping him from scoring points. But if he can’t be bothered, that can hurt Mercedes and Hamilton far more over the longer run. The amount of races (and points to be scored) is diminishing, and both Merceds cars were already taking oppertunities away from Vettel to even get closer, instead he was losing points to Hamilton anyway.

        Had Vettel been ahead, and the target been to make Hamilton lose less points, I could have felt some more understanding for the team feeling it was the thing to do. But now? nope.

        1. Bottas has to remain engaged. That Mercedes seat is far too highly coveted for what you’re suggesting to even approach being a possibility. Ask Esteban Ocon what he would give for that drive.

      4. @medman So what you’re saying is: You need a high IQ to understand team orders.

    3. It’s a tough one to watch as a fan, but as Ajaxn points out below it is the only rational decision in Toto’s shoes with five races left and 125 points up for grabs for each driver.

    4. Malaysia 2016. Think back to how devastating that was. In an era of almost bulletproof cars, one issue can be catastrophic. Hamilton’s alluded to that incident multiple times throughout the year, and Im sure it was weighing on their mind when they made the decision.

  4. Makes perfect sense to me. I said the same about Ferrari in Monza but that didn’t happen due to the how the race developed. It’s all part of the game, 7 extra points to Bottas means nothing but those 7 could mean everything to Hamilton and Mercedes so why wouldn’t they do it ? I hope Hamilton gets the chance to give a win back to Bottas or he can have another good race on his own merit.

    A part of me wishes there wasn’t a Championship at all. Just imagine how different the results would be if all races were just standalone events. No one would drive safe to protect points and there’d be no need to switch positions. Big tactical calls or DNFs wouldn’t matter as much. I feel that would be more entertaining.

    1. 7 extra points to Bottas means nothing?? He’s 3 points ahead of Kimi rather than 10. Mercedes doding what they did is more likely to cost Bottas 3rd in the drivers championship than Hamilton 1st if Bottas won here. But I can see why winning the title is more important. But saying ti means nothing for Bottas is a bit much.

      1. How @thegianthogweed ?

        Ok then, without looking who came 3rd in the WDC last year or in 2016 or 2015 ? I honestly couldn’t tell you. I’d guess one of the Mercedes or Ferrari drivers so let’s pick a random year like 2012? but who really cares ? There’s no chance Bottas is bothered about that.

        Those 7 points are worthless to Bottas at this stage. 3rd or 4th by the end of the year will make no difference to him.

        1. Guess we think differently, but I just do not understand how you don’t see 3rd in the championship as being no different to 4th for Bottas.

          1. I see you failed to answer my question @thegianthogweed … I think that proves the point. Don’t worry I couldn’t tell you either !

            I guess I just don’t see the WDC as important for anything other than the winner. I mean even then it doesn’t always show who’s truly been the best over the season.

            I can’t see the drivers being that bothered ( unless it’s their first year in a top team ) or beating their teammate but I’d love to hear it asked to them directly as maybe it’s a personal view.

        2. Bottas, ricciardo and I wasn’t following in 2015; got asked by my father who thinks same as you who got 3rd in 1996, schumacher ofc.

          So yes, some of us care even about the other places, but obviously it’s not what’s most important for bottas, it was winning a race this year, on a track he’s always been very strong.

  5. Considering how often other teams – ferrari, Force India – use team orders, why is it such a big deal when Mercedes do? I don’t remember such a fuss being made when Kimi was told to let vettel past in Germany a few races ago.

    1. ‘why is it such a big deal when Mercedes do?’

      Because it has to do with Lewis Hamilton, and anything to do with Hamilton brings out a special ‘trait’ in certain people.

      I do hope this answers your question.

      1. wrong. merc has a huge lead in the championship, that’s what makes this so bad.

      2. Baloney! Force India doesn’t do it to gift wins. When others do it to give drivers wins I’ll criticize them too, until then, this is a joke win and unfair, but Hamilton is the golden child so the FIA are happy and all his homer fans are too.

        1. @jblank
          Call it whatever you want.
          Team orders are legal, and used in any team sports (sometimes referred to as ‘strategy’, if you were not aware).
          By calling Hamilton the ‘golden child’, your bias against him shines through just like all the others, and as I said in my earlier post, it is for this very reason that there is such a negative response to the use of team orders today.
          So my friend, obviously you too are displaying that ‘special trait’ that I alluded to earlier.
          Good day.

          1. Legal doesn’t make it right, it just means no rules were broken and I don’t think anyone claimed there were any broken.

            For you to complain about my bias against Hamilton, something I admit to because I don’t care for him or his team, in the way you have, just shows your bias FOR him. Don’t pretend you’re unbiased.

    2. Because people probably feel that Bottas would’ve deserved the win today. He took pole and was ahead for most of the race. Had Hamilton been a second a lap faster but fallen behind due to, say, a slow pitstop, then people might react differently.

      Much like Germany 2010 or Austria 2002, if the team’s second driver is leading on merit and is forced to give way to, it does not feel right.

      Personally I’m fine with today’s team orders: that’s how it should be done in this stage of the season.

      1. exactly @kaiie. On top of that, it’s not as if Hamilton’s championship bid is really a tight battle anyway, further diminishing the reason for it.

    3. Kimi and Vettel were on different strategies in Germany, and it still took Ferrari 10 laps to muster the courage to tell Kimi to let Vettel through.

      Since the start of 2017, Mercedes have been far nastier and more ruthless than Ferrari with team orders.

    4. I don’t remember such a fuss being made when Kimi was told to let vettel past in Germany a few races ago.

      Except there was if you read comments on the race result. Every time there is a Mercedes team order people like you come out of the woodwork saying “Oh, nobody complained when Ferrari did it,” when they did.

    5. Team orders are legal and Mercedes were righ in using them here. Even Vettel agrees. It is refreshing though that Mercedes did it so that it is disproved once and for all the notion that only Ferrari uses team orders and they are cheaters for doing it. They have enough dough invested to go throwing it al away so that Bo77as feels good once in a while.

  6. Dave (@davewillisporter)
    30th September 2018, 17:47

    I can understand it but I don’t like it, just like in Germany we were deprived of a HAM / ROS style duel towards the end. I was always proud of the fact that all (I think…) of Hamilton’s 69 wins thus far were earned whereas a good number of Schumacher’s 91 wins were orchestrated. This 70th win has marred his record for me. Hopefully Toto will take on board the social media backlash and let them race in Japan.

    1. @davewillisporter I think social media is the last thing Toto should be paying attention to, he’s a joint share holder in the team alongside Daimler and Niki Lauda. A vocal minority expressing disapproval of his decision on various social media channels is absolutely irrelevant!

    2. Schumacher’s wins were as deserved as hamilton’s perhaps more considering he did NOT start in a top team.

      If 2002 austria was undeserved, he gave that back at 2002 usa, and if spain 2001 was lucky, just to pick one, 2006 japan was unlucky, he was just strong overall.

  7. ‘Hamilton has never won a race in a year where he secured the title before the final race.’

    You think he wants to get rid of that statistic sooner than later. And we all know how much of a whiner Hamilton was in the end of 2015 (after securing the title) begging for alternative strategies just so he can beat Rosberg.

    Bottas will not win a race this season.

  8. It’s a discrase to Bottas that he didn’t win today, how can some one race for a team that will never let him win no matter what, it’s so one sided it’s poor sportsmanship team orders and it makes f1 and Mercedes look a joke enough said I used to love this sport hmmmmm

    1. bahrain – he couldnt overtake vettel for the win
      china – on course to win until safety car messed it up
      baku – on course to win until blown tyre

      so how can you say that the team will never let him win no matter what if i manage to give you 3 examples off the top of my head where the team gave him the best strategy for the win.

    2. Yep. Imagine busting your balls to get pole only to be told, pretty much straight away, on race day to move over for your team-mate. It doesnt get much more demotivating than that. You can give all the reasons /excuses you want but its pretty weak from everyone (even Bottas for agreeing with it)

      1. Bottas is employed by the team, just as you (presumably) have an employer. As an employee, you’re going to do as you’re told, or it’s your option to find another place of employment. But calling Bottas “weak” is not remotely accurate. The truth is he’s not in a position to refuse a racing directive from the boss. They could remove him from that seat for the next race if he did. Then where would he be? Do you realize how quickly Ocon (or any other talented young driver) would fill that seat?

  9. End of the season—-check
    Bot out of championship—-check
    A very closely fought Championship—-check

    It absolutely makes sense to use team orders.

    It is a no brainer as Vettel said to employ team orders at this stage of the season.

    Some people and media simply making big fuss about team order. This is the last part of a closely fought championship. Team orders are expected at both the leading teams and drivers. Even Force India employed some team orders.

    Bottas and Raikkoned are out of the championship. It makes sense to maximise the result for the leading drivers to win the Driver’s championship.

    And the way Lewis overtook Vettel, its shows Lewis had pace to even challenge Bottas without team order. It was not like a forgone conclusion that Bottas would win the race.

    Feel sad for Bottas but he had his chances earlier in the season and now he is out of the championship so i am sure he himself expect this to happen. Wish Bottas get a win before the year end.

    1. @amg44
      What closely fought championship? Hamilton has this WDC in the bag.

      Apparently Mercedes lied to Bottas about how they were going to give the place back to him. That tells you a lot about what a nasty team Mercedes are.

      1. @kingshark
        Lewis has it in the bag coz grazie ragazzi boy had messed up. He failed to maximize his results when Ferrari had the fastest car untill Monza (front row lockout). I would say even in Singapore Ferrari was the favorite but Vettel under-delivered.
        Now though it appears Ferrari have lost ground to Mercedes with the latest round of car development updates.
        Dont make it seem like Mercedes was the quickest car when its been neck and neck between the top 2 teams.

        1. so you admit it’s not a close fight then, and that’s precisely what all of this is about. Merc have had clearly the fastest car in 9 of the 16 races (ferrari 6, rbr 1), merc have the most poles, most wins and are leading both championships. So there is literally no measure by which you can state ferrari have the fastest car. this ‘championship’, and every championship until they change the PU regs, is predetermined and will be won by merc.

        2. @amg44

          Lewis has it in the bag coz grazie ragazzi boy had messed up.

          So you’ve just admitted that Lewis has it in the bag, which means that this is not a close championship fight, which directly contradicts your previous post.

          Thanks for clarifying. This only further proves my point on how pointless these team orders were.

      2. Oh boo hoo @kingshark no team is nice. You’ve literally got teams poaching rival members and doing everything they can to strip rivals of points. We’ve even got teams doing what they can to make rivals fail and close down for good forcing people to go unemployed. Yet you’re getting upset about a team order which made perfect sense and which that spoke to Bottas about before the race ?

        whats going unnoticed here is another mistake from Vettel helped Hamilton today. His lock up allowed Hamilton to get close and into DRS range.

        One DNF and it becomes very close again. Nothing’s over until it’s over and it still feels like a close championship to those who haven’t down their toys out of the pram and understand anyhing can still happen.

        1. Yeah it’s not like Vettel hasn’t shown the capability to come from the back and win the driver’s championship.

        2. @Tom

          whats going unnoticed here is another mistake from Vettel helped Hamilton today. His lock up allowed Hamilton to get close and into DRS range.

          Mercedes was much faster than Ferrari this weekend. The only reason why Vettel was even ahead to begin with was because Hamilton messed up in qualifying.

          1. Actually @kingshark it was the pit stop that put Vettel in front. Sure Hamilton could have got pole but he qualified 2nd and was holding that position until the pit stops.

            Again, you’ve missed the point. Vettel was able to stay with Mercedes and if he didn’t make the mistake then Hamilton would have found it much harder to get passed. Hamilton and Bottas we’re struggling to catch Verstappen and almost every time a car was 1second behind another it failed to get closer. The mistake is what allowed Hamilton to close in and get passed.

          2. @Tom
            Hamilton overtook Vettel because Mercedes was a much better car than Ferrari this weekend and much better through sector 3 in particular. Ferrari struggled with traction all weekend. The only reason why Vettel was able to stay with Mercedes in the opening stint is because Bottas was rubbish on ultrasoft tyres. He has a history of being bad at least one stint per race.

            As for Verstappen, Hamilton had no reason to chase him because he was a pitstop ahead anyway.

  10. Five races to go, If Mercedes can manage three wins, they’ll have this in the bag with a chance for Bottas to get his win.

    I wonder, if Lewis had given the place back to Bottas, would he have accepted the ‘win’? Its a tough call but i think Bottas would want to win by his own merits, the same way Lewis would.

    In the long term this experiance should make Bottas an even hungrier driver next year.

    1. I hope this opportunity arises, it’s a good sentiment….but needs Merc to be in 1-2 position again.

    2. Giving someone a “Win” isn’t a “Win” – it is a joke.

      1. Exactly! This is an undeserved win and another boring Hamilton win.

        1. @jblank
          Another boring Hamilton win over the course of 4 (yes, 1, 2, 3, 4) Drivers Championships.
          Thats a LOT of boring Hamilton wins, brother……….lol.
          Something tells me you’re not having a good day. Get over it.
          The team made a decision, Hamilton won the race, and thats the end of it.
          (Oh…… and he is going on to his 5th World Drivers Championship. So even more boring Hamilton wins for you to fuss over).

          1. And I’ll be here complaining. Don’t like it? Don’t come here. People have disparate views……not everyone is gonna these Hamilton wins and smile about it.

  11. Nah I don’t buy it. When the order came to let Hamilton by, Vettel was as close as he was going to get – the performance advantage the Mercedes had over the Ferrari shows that. There was no real way Vettel was going to get past Hamilton on pure performance unless there was a drama ahead. Hamilton has a 40-odd point lead over his nearest rival, their 1-2 finish was completely uncontested as their rivals were nowhere and their constructor’s points would be identical regardless of who finished in front. It just seems monstrously unnecessary.

    1. The fact that you refused to restore the original running order in the final laps determines that to be a lie.

  12. It seemed Lewis was going to catch up to Valtteri. It would have been foolish to allow them to tangle on the track, and risk a double DNF. This was the best move for the team for the race and both championships. Mercedes will repay Valtteri when the occasion arises.

  13. The media is focusing on this team order because, in reality, it’s the only interesting thing to talk about from the entire race.

    Yes, Max did well to pass as many cars as he did, but it was always going to be 2 Mercs, 2 Ferraris, 2 RBRs at the chequered flag. It’s really easy with the extended DRS to pass around this circuit, so cars were expected to finish in strength order.

    Onto Japan now, a proper circuit that’ll also throw a weather curveball into the mix!

    1. Let us pray for mixed weather. A bit of rain, a bit of wind :)

      1. And pray for Hamilton to slam into a wall or blow an engine.

        1. @jblank
          Man……. you’re really having a bad day.
          How old did you say you were again?
          C’mon…… grow up, boy!!

          1. Do you have nothing better than to follow me around and troll posts? If you think this and Singapore are examples of good races then you’re as biased towards Hamilton as I am against him.

            Bias aside, these are poor races….period!

  14. So you kept talking to James and that resulted in a missed lap, genius Toto.
    You thought a handshake with Renault would be enough for Ocon to get a 2019 race seat, genius Toto.
    You thought other teams are happy to take Wehrlein and Russell in exchange for paltry engine discounts, genius Toto.

    And all this while genius Toto pockets some side cash as Bottas’ manager from his own employer, Mercedes.

    Some may call this a leap of faith. But I don’t think Toto is going to make it to the end of next season as team principal. Mercedes are going to replace him soon. Lauda’s hospitalization means he is safe for some time. But it’s gonna come sooner rather than later.

    1. What do you mean? The team is doing great. Look at the results.

      He is paranoid of Ferrari onslaught for years now but every year they take the title. Now they even use open team orders.

      He’ll be there until Hamilton retires.

    2. Are you seriously, honestly implying that Lauda would be a serious alternative to Wolff as a team manager, or even qualified to run a team?
      In that case, I have a bridge to sell to you.

      Hint: There are reasons why Lauda is a ‘non-executive’ board member.

    3. No genius after you… sir…

    4. Who cares about Ocon? He hasn’t shown anything and he has had a few years. The cream rises to the top fast in F1 and he isn’t anything special. Drivers like Ocon are a dime a dozen. Next.

      1. @darryn What? Ocon has consistently done better than Perez, which is something not even Nico Hulkenberg could do. This shows how clueless you are.

        1. So he beat 2 mediocre drivers. Hulkenberg has been in F1 a decade and has still yet to get even a podium. Seriously he has had his chance. I don’t get all the love for these drivers. There is room for maybe 3 or 4 really good drivers. The rest are just chaff and might as well be moved on to see who will be the next big driver.

  15. You do realise Toto owns part of the Team? Daimler wanted a partner with skin-in-the-game. He has a long relationship with them starting in DTM.

    1. In response to Sumedh above.

  16. Wolff – you are excrement.

    1. But highly skilled at delivering championships to Mercedes.

  17. I don’t see all the outrage in this or the need for Wolfe to defend his move. This can easily be rectified at the end of the season if the roles are reversed and Hamilton has the championship. Would have seemed really dumb to let Bottas have this one when they can give him one down the road and then have Hamilton lose the championship by a few points.

    1. you are more of a money person than a race fan are you not?

  18. Perhaps we should just let Toto decide the winner from day one?

    He can give the wins out as it pleases him.

    God forbid that anyone would actually be a good driver.

    What matters is being “highly skilled at delivering championships to Mercedes”

    1. Exactly! Agree 100%! This cheapens the sport.

  19. Rubbish. If that were the case, they would have swapped them back at the end of the race. Hamilton can win the championship without these kind of team orders which does nothing but undermine his hard work.

    1. I firmly believe that Lewis is capable of winning it for himself, which only makes this kind of thing an insult to him.

      If he becomes an F1 legend by being gifted his wins then what kind of legend is he?

  20. Hamilton is a great driver. But the only way he could be beaten to the WDC this year is by someone in another Mercedes. Red bull/Renault are too slow. Ferrari/Vettel too inconsistent. This race highlights how predictable F1 has got.

    Sure we’ve had this kind of dominance before by one team, but add in the reliability of modern cars and this kind of team order scenario and there’s only a fairly hollow victory for the driver.

    More worryingly the longer this goes on the greater the influence the winning driver in a team has over choice of team mate.

    We end up with the top teams prima donna number one drivers vetoing competitive number twos. If Mercedes had Alonso, Ricciardo or Rosberg in the second car todays situation would not have come up.

    I supported Hamilton’s first WDC at Mercedes. It was great to see him win. But there have been many other factors that have allowed him to nearly be a 5 x WDC, that have to be taken into account in evaluating his place in the history books.

  21. Liar! What a joke. I cannot wait until Hamilton retires and F1 starts being at least a bit more unpredictable. I’m so sick of Hamilton and Merc.

    1. @jblank
      Oh my….. you again. Still having a bad day!!
      If you are so sick of the sport, log off this website (which is ALL about the sport), and stop watching.
      Take up Tiddly-Winks or something. You know…… something more up your street.

      1. No, I’ll voice my opinion. Don’t like it? Ignore it.

        1. And all the race fans on here will evaluate your opinions and judge them for the juvenile petulance that they are.

          1. Fantastic, let them. If you people think these are good races you’re just Hamilton homers, nothing more.

    2. Adub Smallblock
      1st October 2018, 1:51

      Jason Blankenship: So, if another team becomes dominant in the series, you will want them to leave also? And the one that takes over from them, have them leave also? Going to be real boring watching two cars, same team fight for the championship all by themselves.

      1. I don’t want anyone to leave, I want honest results and more parity.

  22. These team orders were totally unnecessary. It’s not like Hamilton has ever lost a championship in the last couple of races. Or Vettel ever come from a significant number of points behind to clinch the title in the last race. It’s not as if a engine failure at this point of the season would result in not just a DNF, but a grid penalty at the next race. It’s not like this is a cutthroat sport where the aim is to win the championship, rather than be nice people.

    Oh wait… /sarcasm

    Team orders today were absolutely the right call. And it’s also absolutely ok if they left a bad taste in your mouth. Both those things can be true at the same time.

    1. In all honesty, it didn’t even leave a hint of a bad taste in my mouth. F1 is a team effort, and Bottas has absolutely no use for 25 points. He may end up beating Räikkönen to 3rd in the championship, okay. I think everyone agrees that this means next to nothing compared to his team mate’s effort to win the title.

      So far, so good.

      However, it is the phoniness of it all that irks me. Instead of owning up to a pragmatic decision, Wolff and the likes are beating around the bush and crying false tears of regret, making up excuses like this one here. They had their drivers swap places because Hamilton needs every single point he can get, and Bottas doesn’t. Saying they only did it to protect Hamilton against the Ferraris, is a blatant insult to the viewers’ intelligence.

      1. Fair enough, but I don’t see the phoniness – I think they’re being honest about their feelings on the matter, and to be honest I think I’d probably feel exactly the same way. The decision sits uncomfortably with him, but the team are doing what it takes to win. This is the true burden of leadership – not making a decision that is going to be difficult for other people, but one that is difficult for yourself. Listening to your gut feeling, but not obeying it slavishly. And instead of dithering and not facing that decision, he’s called on it.

        It may well turn out at the end of the season it wasn’t needed, but none of us can know that right now. Wolff has done his job in making this call, regardless of who does or does not agree with it.

    2. If you need a teammate to move over for you when you have the best car and a 40 point lead late in the season, then do you really deserve to be champion?

      1. Indeed you don’t!

  23. Whenever team orders come up, it’s always the same discussion
    “I don’t like how Mercedes used team orders to help Hamilton win.”
    “Oh yeah, then what about Ferrari’s team orders? What about Vettel? You’re biased!”

    And this is why you can’t have a meaningful discussion in this godforsaken community.

  24. I find it funny that people are against team tactics when there was a need for it yeterday. To achieve maximum points in both championships. Very necessary. Ive seen football teams bench good players because the better players are on the field. If they were to be fair then all the players should get equal opportunity also. But they dont. The best team is played. For the beat result possible.

  25. I suspect team strategy is much the same as driving a vehicle in the sense that whatever decision you make someone could argue it was the wrong decision. Team orders were employed supposedly to make it difficult for Vettel to overtake Hamilton. Whether that is true or not is beside the point, what matters is Hamilton finished ahead of Vettel and not behind him. That was good for Mercedes and a critical mistake by Ferrari. This has put Ferrari under a lot of pressure.
    Vettel would have known before this race started that he needed to finish 7+ points ahead of Hamilton (e.g. Vettel first, Hamilton second; Vettel second, Hamilton 5th) at all of next 6 races to win the WDC. Now Hamilton is 50 points ahead of Vettel with 5 races to go, meaning Vettel needs an average of 10 + 1 points at each of the remaining races to win the WDC (I don’t know who’d win in the event of the points being tied). To achieve that 10 point margin, and assuming Vettel wins (25 points) each of the remaining races, Hamilton would need to finish 3rd (15 points) or worse, which has happened for Hamilton 5 times this season, and 11 times this season he’s finished first or second.
    It seems to me Ferrari value the WDC over the Constructors’ Championship, so I can see Toto wanting to keep the pressure upon Vettel, and the easiest way to do that is to keep doing what they just did: use team orders and let Hamilton finish ahead of Bottas.
    The best way Bottas can avoid being subjected to team orders is to try and have someone between him and Hamilton, but as we saw with this race, Hamilton could overtake that person. I just hope there’s a bonus for Valtteri in his contract for when he assists Hamilton to win a race.

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