Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2021

Bottas prepared to “take one for the team” again in Sochi

2021 Russian Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas is prepared to follow team orders from Mercedes to help Lewis Hamilton maximise his score in this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

“We have discussed many things internally, including different scenarios,” said Bottas during today’s FIA press conference. “Every race is always different. There could be times that we need to play as a team and I need to take one for the team.

“At this situation, how the situation is, yes, I would do it, because we’re here as a team and really need to make sure that we win both titles. Not only the constructors’, but also drivers and at the moment Lewis has the greater chance for that, so that’s the situation now at the moment.”

Hamilton and points leader Max Verstappen’s collision in the last race at Monza allowed Bottas to close on them in the standings. Although Bottas remains mathematically in contention, he has accepted Hamilton is Mercedes’ priority in the championship fight.

“I think in Formula 1 you never know how the season will progress but still there’s a fair amount of races so never say never,” said Bottas. “The only thing I will keep doing anyway is try my best and try to win races.”

Bottas, who will leave Mercedes to join Alfa Romeo at the end of the year, admitted there is a “reasonable gap” between him and his team mate in the standings. The two are separated by 80.5 points in the standings, with Verstappen a further five points ahead.

“Earlier on in the season I felt like I wasn’t really any more allowed for the contention but you never know,” said Bottas. “We go race by race.

“But for me personally coming here for this race the only thing in my mind is winning. That’s all that matters for me and at least that’s my approach for the season.”

In 2018 Bottas let Hamilton by to win the Russian Grand Prix to aid his pursuit of the championship.

“That’s a few years ago, but at least now I can be fine with things,” he admitted. “At that point, yes, it was painful. And for me, it was hard to accept. But we’ve obviously moved on since, and also I’ve grown a lot since. Things are a bit different now.”

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Author information

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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15 comments on “Bottas prepared to “take one for the team” again in Sochi”

  1. It’s Bottas way to say that he comes very strong and might and willing to (be in a position to) win.
    Keith and Hazel could count the times Berger received orders (next to Senna), Irvine and Barrichello received orders (next to Schumacher) and compare with Bottas. Hamilton needed Bottas’ help in very few occasions.
    Nico Rosberg is getting a very favourable historical review.

    1. Only from people who forget Rosberg was always a dirty driver who deliberately tried to run his opponents off the road. Don’t take my word for it, watch him drive, ESPECIALLY in bahrain

      1. When I say that Rosberg is getting a very favourable historical review, I’m thinking especially at events like that drive in Bahrain.

  2. As he should. Mercedes should favour Hamilton, no doubt about it. What I dislike is when they pretend like they would never do something like this and are all about equality. Red Bull would do the same thing without a doubt, but they basically openly state Perez is there to support Max.

    This is why I prefer having a battle between two teams rather than just two drivers from the same team like 2014-2016. If you are behind your teammate, you will never be able to undercut him, whereas the strategic battle between the two teams is more interesting than the wheel-to-wheel battles sometimes.

    1. I wonder whether perhaps as part of his talks with Mercedes about leaving, he gets a bonus for Merc getting not only the WCC, but also HAM/Merc winning the WDC, which would sort of makes sense (yes it might put him in the contractual 2nd driver position, but given he’s mentally moved on to the three year deal he has from next year, maybe that’s not much of an issue for him now?).

      Anyway, if he goes fastest, leads the race, then it only means a lot if HAM is just behind him, otherwise he can just win the race.

  3. How about using a more accurate title here? Such as, Bottas prepared to “take one for Lewis” again in Sochi! If they run 1st and 2nd or 2nd and 3rd they are not switching for the sake of the team as team points are the same!

    1. Lewis is part of the team. Quoting Bottas, “we’re here as a team and really need to make sure that we win both titles. Not only the constructors’”.

    2. @flyingferrarim He’s obviously not going to do it to help Lewis – they are supposed to be competing. But the team has given him a lot over the years and I’m sure he wants to leave on a high note. He’s part of this team and nothing anyone says will take that away from him.

      He may not have tasted the success at the personal level that he hoped for but he’s tasted a lot more success than most drivers/athletes can dream of.

  4. Take one out for the team? Only one. He can do better as we know.

  5. That tastes bitter here in Sochi when he previosly gifted away a win, after which he thought about quitting the sport.

    As we know, he just became an even better doormat and will without issue sacrifice his race even as early as round 8 now.

    1. @balue are you happy when Red Bull to make Perez sacrifice his performances for the benefit of Verstappen?

      1. Firstly Perez will have to be in a position to do that :-). People still heavily overrate the RB car. Its no match to the Mercedes.

  6. The usual suspects getting upset over the thought of Bottas not handing over points advantages to Max.

  7. So many hurt people here because of Bottas’s words.

  8. Completely understandable strategy, but Booh.

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