Bottas says he should have expected Russia team orders

2018 Japanese Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas says he should have expected Mercedes’ instruction for him to let Lewis Hamilton past in the Russian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver asked the team “why was that?” on the radio after being told to let Hamilton through. He said today the team hadn’t foreseen the circumstances under which he was told to move over for Hamilton.

“Many of the things we discussed within the team together, many of those things I can’t share, they’re private information.

“But basically every day before the race we have multiple meetings for different things. One of the meetings was discussing what we would do in terms of team orders, when we would apply them in situations. It’s sometimes so difficult to predict exactly what is going to happen in the race.”

After his pit stop Bottas, the original leader of the race, was initially told he could maintain position behind Max Verstappen, who extended his first stint. Despite Mercedes using Bottas to slow Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton fell behind the Ferrari when he pitted.

After Hamilton passed Vettel, Mercedes told Bottas he needed to attack Verstappen. Hamilton than began to suffer blistering on his tyres, which prompted the order for Bottas to let him through.

“The team obviously were concerned about the blistering Lewis had and they put me into second place to kind of protect him,” said Bottas. “If I could keep my position he could gain one position and then didn’t have risk from Sebastian with the rear blister Lewis had.

“I don’t think we discussed that kind of situation in detail so that’s why it was a bit confusing at the time.”

Bottas said he should have predicted what happened.

“Looking back I think I should have maybe expected that to happen. But it’s just the way it went. I didn’t think it was going to go that way.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 17 comments on “Bottas says he should have expected Russia team orders”

    1. Funny he still believes the ‘blistering’ story, even though he personally checked the rear tyres of Hamilton’s car after they finished.
      Bottas appears to be an even better ‘wingman’ that Massa or Barrichello.

      1. Nowhere near the same as Barrichello. These drivers were compromised from the start of the season. Once it became clear Bottas would not be fighting for the DWC he became a wingman.

        1. It’s not ‘when’ but more ‘how passively’ he tows the company line, @john-h.
          I was hoping for a bit more ‘spice’ from Bottas based on his time at Williams (and fights with Raikkonen).

          1. He’s conscious of his one year contract, I’d wager

            1. And given that Mercedes doesn’t dominate as much anymore, they can’t waste points letting them race while Ferrari has a clear number one.
              I believe Bottas would have his shot at the title if they were still winning 17 races a season.
              Bad timing for him.

      2. In fact a “sensational wingman” to quote none other than Toto Wolff.

        Hammy even offered his trophy to him on Sunday. That’s how happy Hammy is with the job Bottas is doing as his wingman.

    2. I hope Bottas now fully understands his place in the team,we don`t want issues in the future.

    3. I strongly believe Hamilton would suffer a lot with that blister and would loose position back to Vettel at the last laps.
      Running at the back of Bottas would put a lot of strain. On the other side this was Hamilton’s doing as he attacked that forcibly he blistered in half a lap.
      Bottas saying publicly it was ok will only hurt his image, he should at least kept silent and hope he can win another race this season (maybe Abu Dhabi again).

      1. Bottas didn’t seem to suffer from blisters sitting behind Hammy.

        We all know the blistering wasn’t an issue. They were hoping Hammy would run off into the distance.

      2. biggest blisters were in the heart of “no name buzzing flies” Hamilton/Mercedes doing a great job to make those nobodies’ hearts and brains blister to the level those cant stop trolling while eating themselves inside out… haha… keep buzzing noname nobodies…

    4. Bruno von Niman
      4th October 2018, 14:30

      Believe in Santa.

    5. Although Bottas is driving a Mercedes, he has less nr 1 finishes than Ves. Since Monaco Ves has scored more points than Bottas also. So conclusion: Bottas is just not good enough to claim a victory.

    6. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      4th October 2018, 17:47

      And when did Verstappen get 2 of his wins? When the 2 Mercedes retired. Bottas will have had 3 wins this year. 2 of them without something clearly helping him out with good luck. Negative luck has been going towards Bottas this season. Without that, he will have been getting more points than Verstappen more recently. Remember he’s missed getting on for 60 points or more down to bad luck too over the whole season.

    7. In Russia everyone expects team orders

      1. @maciek I imagine it’s when you stop getting them you start to worry.

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