Date published: September 29 2018
Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has said Valtteri Bottas’ pole will do his confidence good, but would not entirely rule out team orders coming into effect.
With Bottas out of the title picture and Hamilton holding a 40-point advantage over rival Sebastian Vettel, Bottas will continue to play the team game when needed.
The Finn took top spot in qualifying on Saturday afternoon thanks to a new lap record around the Sochi circuit in Q3 with a 1:31.386.
And Wolff said that getting one over his team-mate Lewis Hamilton could not have come at a better time for him.
“Valtteri needed to gain some confidence and that was just what the doctor ordered,” Wolff told Sky Sports.
“He knows he has to extract everything to beat Lewis.”
However, when asked whether team orders will still be coming into effect to help Hamilton’s bid, he added: “It’s going to be difficult to tell him that now after putting on pole.
“Bu we will have the conversation on Sunday morning and see how the race is going to pan out.”
Bottas put enough pressure on Hamilton to force the Brit into a mistake on his final run.
And the winner of last year’s Russian Grand Prix showed his emotion in the post-session interviews.
“Yeah it was a nice lap,” Bottas said.
“In the end I managed to improve a little bit and I don’t know other than he [Hamilton] aborted his lap, but yeah it feels good.
“Still a little bit of the shakes, it take a lot of concentration but its good.”
Despite the pole position, the Finn is not getting ahead of himself, as he looks for his first victory of the season.
“You know, I am really happy for sure but it is only the first step in this weekend,” he continued.
“Massively long run from the start line to Turn 1 so it is going to be important to try and keep that position.”