Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit of the Americas, 2018

Mercedes ready to use team orders to secure Hamilton’s title

2018 United States Grand Prix

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Mercedes are prepared to use team orders on their drivers again to secure a championship victory for Lewis Hamilton in today’s Untied States Grand Prix.

Team principal Toto Wolff said the team will consider the points situation as the race unfolds and decide whether to intervene again as they did in Russia, when Valtteri Bottas was told to let Hamilton by.

“The objective for Valtteri is really to go for it at the beginning – he hasn’t got a lot to lose – and show us a strong race,” said Wolff.

“If at the end we find ourselves in a situation where we again need to evaluate the points we’ll do that. But I don’t want to commit to saying now whether or what we will be doing.”

If Mercedes find themselves in the same position they were in at Sochi, with Bottas on course for victory with Hamilton immediately behind him, then switching the order would put Hamilton in position to win the championship.

Wolff said Ferrari’s improved performance at the Austin track shows why Mercedes must be prepared to issue team orders

“Since a few days you guys have been talking us up: This is almost done, he has a hand on the trophy – you either have the trophy in your hands or you don’t. And we don’t.

“I know from the points we are looking solid but everything can happen in the sport. Ferrari has come back strong, it’s what we had expected, and that’s why I’d like to keep all options open for tomorrow.”

However Bottas does not expect to be called upon to act as a ‘blocker’ and prevent Sebastian Vettel from making progress through the field.

“I think my job tomorrow is to try and attack, try and progress in the race and that means at least getting by Kimi [Raikkonen]. “For us again the goal is to gather maximum points we can as a team.

“There’s no plans of me trying to slow down anyone. I’m just trying to go for it and the best result there is possible to get.”

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25 comments on “Mercedes ready to use team orders to secure Hamilton’s title”

  1. I understand the practical need to do it, but I think it would be the worst ending to a championship they could manufacture.

    I know ‘anything’ can happen, but in reality when Hamilton finishes the season with realistically at least 40 points over Vettel, it’s just going to be depressing to think of the wins Bottas handed over for the sake of 7 points that aren’t needed.

    1. Nothing new there- Massa let Kimi through in Brazil 07 for Kimi to secure the championship, etc etc etc.

    2. But you see, if Mercedes were complacent, believing too much in themselves, they’ll start celebrating right now. But if you ever know the meaning of the word, disaster, you’ll find they talk about sudden accident, most likely unexpected.
      Hamilton could still get taken out, or be unfortunate with safety car or rain. He could have an engine or gearbox failure. So why tempt the odds by deliberately throwing away opportunities.
      Mercedes want to win both championships, they don’t want to tell stories of how a certain competitor or part was responsible for their failure.

  2. I think they have it sealed. If they just focus on getting Hamilton the win, Vettel will be 74 points behind at the minimum with only 75 to play for.

    There’s absolutely no need for team orders. Let them all race. This championship is done and dusted.

    1. I doubt team orders will be used if ham happens to be p1

  3. If a situation like this were to arise at some point in the race: Bottas leading with Hamilton in P2 and Vettel P3, I can already see a radio message like this coming: ‘Valtteri, let Lewis past for the Championship.’ LOL.

    1. @jerejj Would Hamilton pass though? I don’t think he would. He went past Bottas with misgiving at Sochi because he felt under threat from Vettel. Indeed he asked Bottas to speed up rather than let him pass. Would he really want to win the race and championship in the same wake-like mood as Sochi? Rather than risk making the extra few points in the next three races? In this scenario, with no immediate threat to his position from Vettel, I think Hamilton would refuse. Obviously if Bottas slows down dramatically there wouldn’t be much he could do.

  4. They are so lame..

    1. No they are smart and ruthless about it. Unlike Limping horses and their drivers who are mental mess deserving each other.

  5. FlyingLobster27
    21st October 2018, 9:58

    This is the only situation where I can 100% back using team orders, especially if it alters the race win: to seal the deal, the crucial blow.
    This really seems to be all the rage at the moment, and there were even team orders in the penultimate round of Super GT this morning, which is disappointing, but at the same time, very rare because there’s only one 2-car team in GT500 (the teams of a same brand do fight each other in Super GT, unlike in the DTM). It does make you question the value given to individual race wins by certain teams and drivers.

  6. So now the much overhyped improved tyre management and downforce of upgraded Mercedes can’t even beat and fear of the downgraded Ferrari of 4 races back? Wow…

    1. To demonstrate how ridiculous your comment really is:

      So now the much overhyped improved aero package and floor of upgraded Ferrari can’t even beat and fear of the downgraded Ferrari of 4 races back? Wow…

    2. Ferrari got its power boost back once the second FIA sensor was removed off its PU, this is giving them 4 tenths in each straight. So yeah hands down the tyre management for MERC and their cornering speeds are giving them the edge. Mango.

  7. Great advert for the people on the fence deciding whether or not to pay the extra to watch the F1 on Sky next year.

  8. Hamilton is THE most gifted F1 champion ever. …And I don’t mean talent!

    It’s all been on a plate. Only Rosberg offered any challenge.

  9. F1 is a team sport. The objective is to win the Driver’s and Constructor’s Championships. Therefore any team will do what ever it takes to achieve their goal. It is not the team’s fault that fans fail to grasp the reason for the racing. This has been explained ad museum but still fails to sink in. What if there is no team orders at this race and Hamilton fails to seal the deal. He then has a minor accident off track and cannot drive in the following races, Ferrari then win by 1 point later on.

    1. When you’re a car company paying that much to be in a sport you’d hope it’d be entertaining to keep your potential customers hooked. Team orders dilute the sporting aspect of F1 and turn people off from watching.

      As a car manufacturer if there’s not enough people watching, then it’s pointless to go racing in the first place.

      1. You don’t need people watching the sport to plaster pictures all over the insides of your showrooms, or to brag about your achievements in adverts, or to get a return on your r&d.

      2. I see you failed to understand the first sentence I wrote. Team Sport. Meaning that it is not about a single person but about 1000s of hard working folk in the case of an F1 Team. A good team will do what is good for the team.
        Seeing Hamilton potentially crowned this day is enough to keep me happy, entertained and watching. I don’t want to buy a Mercedes, though I’ll admit knowing they are the current and past champions makes them better than someone who is runner up. IMHO.

  10. Bad if they do that. With the advantage they’ve got over Vettel, the fact he’s down in 5th with Bottas and a Red Bull between them means the only way he’s going to get ahead of Hamilton is either the most stunning opening lap in history or technical failure – both of which are supremely unlikely. No point in using team orders here. Yawn.

  11. There’s a nice typo in title: Untied States of America.

  12. Mercedes winning the title in the US has way more PR value than whatever grumbling it might cause from the meek wingman. The american audience would love to see Lewis win too.
    Remember, the states is like a home race to Lewis with tens of millions of fans while Bottas is considered a complete nobody. Mercedes is correct and the situation is so obvious that even Bottas himself is agreeing with it. Everything else is just fake drama created by the press.

  13. “Hey, see that downtrodden dude in our other car? Looks a little depressed lately. Hasn’t been on the pace for some time, too” “Oh, i know, lets break his spirit even further, that should do the trick for next year” -two unnamed merc execs.

    1. If Bottas was a bit faster and had a touch of luck he would not be in this situation. He understands that his team needs to win. Sure in the moment he’s sad to give up a win but in the long run it’s all good. His pay packet for being in ‘TEAM Merc’ says so. I’m sure Bottas would rather be first loser in a Williams than helping this team win championships /not. It’s just too bad Lewis is such a talent and is hard to beat by anyone on the grid. It being the near the end of the campaign I’m sure Bottas was told his role would change and is man enough to understand. Happily it all resets next year.

  14. More importantly than Mercedes using team orders is Ferrari, imagine Hamilton in the lead, Raikonen running second and Vettel third. Ferrari could order a swap to keep the championship alive BUT would Kim concede?

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