Just days after his obvious disappointment in being told to move aside for teammate Lewis Hamilton and essentially hand over the lead of the Russian Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas has admitted that as a team player he’d be willing to do it again.
The German team insisted that the move was due to fears that Sebastian Vettel might be able to mount a successful attack on the Briton, who had damaged his rear tyres in his earlier attempt to pass the Ferrari.
“I’m definitely still allowed to win but it will all depend on the situation,” Bottas told reporters in Suzuka today.
“Honestly, I think that, last weekend, if Lewis didn’t have the blister, if he didn’t have that much pressure from Sebastian, maybe the team would have not done it,” he insisted. “So, it will really be case by case.
“I just need to accept it now that I’m in this situation because of everything that has happened earlier in the season,” he admitted. “I cannot fight for the championship anymore, Lewis is fighting for it, I’m a team player and I’m willing to help.
“I don’t like anything more than winning races and fighting for the championship, that’s what I want to do and that will still be my ultimate goal for every weekend, and I’m hoping that will still happen.
“But I’m a team player as well and that’s what we do. We’re a strong team, we want to win both world championships and we work together, as a team, to do that.”
The Finn insists that though it was teammate Hamilton who ultimately stood on the top step in Sochi, he still felt like he’d won the race.
“For sure in the statistics I don’t have a win,” he admitted, “but I know myself how I performed during the weekend and I feel like a winner from that race and that is what matters to me.
“I know how that race was, the team knows it too so that’s all good. Those are only stats and numbers and of course it would be nice to change that but that’s just stats.”
Hamilton has said that he is hoping to hand a win to Bottas once the title is safe however, surely that would be as painful a gesture for the Finn as being told to yield his own win.