Hamilton wants no repeat of Sochi team orders scenario | 2019 F1 season

Lewis Hamilton says he doesn’t want to experience a repeat of last year’s Russian Grand Prix, where team mate Valtteri Bottas was ordered to let him win.

Mercedes ordered their drivers to swap positions as Hamilton was leading the championship while Bottas trailed him by 110 points with 150 available. It gave Hamilton an extra seven points, though he went on to win the title with an 88-point lead over his closest rival Sebastian Vettel.

Speaking to the Mercedes website, Hamilton admitted it was “not a good race for me” but for his team mate “this is probably his strongest circuit I would say over the year”.

“By this point in the year the team were like, ‘we’re going to do everything to make sure, Lewis is now so far ahead you can’t catch him in the championship so now we’ve got to start supporting him to make sure we tie up both championships’.

“Neither Valtteri nor I sit in the room saying we want cars reversed, we just want to go out there and earn the position and race for it. Ultimately Valtteri was quicker that weekend and deserved to win.

“But it was really awkward. When I got the call that Valtteri was going to let me by, I can’t remember exactly, I think I said something like ‘just tell him to speed up’. I think in the race I was quicker, in qualifying he was quicker.”

Later in the race Bottas asked the team if the positions were going to be switched back and was told they wouldn’t. Hamilton said he did want to give Bottas the lead back before the race ended.

“I remember seeing him pull over and I continued by. It’s not ever the way I’ve ever wanted to win and I don’t think any driver wants to win that way.

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Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sochi, 2018Bottas said he was “take one for the team” again“Coming across the line I’m very conflicted because if I think with my heart then I would have had it the other way but in life and in competition you’ve got to seize the moment, you’ve got to take it as it comes and you’ve got to seize it when you have the opportunity. If you put your feelings first you might not come out where you planned, if that makes sense. The team had taken the decision and even though I really wanted, the whole rest of that race, you just let him back by, I took the decision to stick with what the team had chosen to do.

“It was the right decision to make but ultimately in the end we didn’t need to have that day. But I think it was an important day in the sense of how we come together.

“It was a hard day for Valtteri but I think he was fully respectful and a real, great team player. He’s been an incredible team mate. It’s not easy being my team mate but it’s also not easy being his team mate because he’s very, very fast, he’s very quick and he’s continuing to get faster and faster. I’ve been here six years, this was only his second year, and he really keeps me on my toes. I really hope that there’s never a scenario like this again. ”

Bottas said he accepted the team’s decision and was prepared to do it again if needed. “At that point in the year I wasn’t any more fighting for the championship,” he explained.

“We were fighting for the constructors’ championship and Lewis was fighting for the drivers’ championship which he ended up winning. So I had to move away from the lead of the race for Lewis.

“It was tough to accept but at that point with those circumstances, the situation in the points… I’m a team player. I take one for the team and I’d take one for the team tomorrow.

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2019 F1 season

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