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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