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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