Bottas didn't expect 'confusing' Mercedes F1 Russian GP team orders

Valtteri Bottas was surprised to be told to move aside for Mercedes Formula 1 team-mate Lewis Hamilton during the Russian Grand Prix and found the communication of the order confusing

Bottas didn't expect 'confusing' Mercedes F1 Russian GP team orders

Mercedes told net race leader Bottas to let Hamilton by before mid-distance, citing a blister on Hamilton's left-rear tyre and the proximity of his title rival Sebastian Vettel as the reason for the move.

It claimed it had not anticipated that situation arising and Bottas suggested the problem was "maybe down to communications during the race and also before the race".

Asked by Autosport if the way it was handled was the main issue, Bottas said: "Yeah, it was slightly confusing.

"It was not something we had planned. Normally we go through everything before the race, all the scenarios, and how we would react to those things.

"What happened today, we could never expect that to happen and it was very suddenly I got the call.

"I definitely didn't expect it, that's why it was a little bit confusing."

Bottas said he did not understand why he was moved aside after being told to attack Max Verstappen, who was leading the race on old tyres because he had not made a pitstop at that point.

"I was getting closer and I was planning to overtake him two laps later, I was getting closer and closer," said Bottas.

"Suddenly I got a call to move over for Lewis. That was confusing."

Bottas said he was fine with an earlier order to back up Vettel as Hamilton prepared to pit because it was only to get Hamilton ahead of the Ferrari but not into the lead.

Sacrificing the win meant Bottas is still waiting for his first victory of the season but he said it was easier to do now as "there is nothing I can really achieve that really matters to me", even though he has moved ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen into third in the championship.

Hamilton's win extended his points lead over Vettel to 50 points while Mercedes' constructors' championship advantage over Ferrari is 53.

"I don't expect anything back from the team," Bottas reiterated when asked by Autosport if he had been promised future compensation.

"When, if, I win I want to win like I've earned it in pure racing.

"As a person, as an athlete, it's not ideal. Today was really me taking one for the team."

Bottas did secure the fastest lap of the race late on as he and Hamilton pushed in the closing stages but said it meant nothing.

"I was still on engine save mode," he said. "It felt like I was cruising in the end, honestly.

"There was a lot more pace available throughout the whole second stint behind Lewis.

"There are no points for fastest lap but I know how much I had pace throughout the weekend and many people do know as well.

"For me, that's the main thing. That I know I could have won on equal terms."

shares
comments
Autosport podcast: Were Mercedes' Russian GP team orders justified?

Previous article

Autosport podcast: Were Mercedes' Russian GP team orders justified?

Next article

Lewis Hamilton: I avoided crash with Sebastian Vettel in Russian GP

Lewis Hamilton: I avoided crash with Sebastian Vettel in Russian GP
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Valtteri Bottas
Teams Mercedes
Author Scott Mitchell
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Plus

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his team-mate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Plus

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Plus

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warmup. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
How Hamilton took a “completely different journey” to Portugal victory Plus

How Hamilton took a “completely different journey” to Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The ‘big fish’ mentality that kept an Australian legend winning Plus

The ‘big fish’ mentality that kept an Australian legend winning

Frank Gardner was the veteran of just eight grand prix starts. It could have been more, but why waste his talent if the cars weren't up to it? NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls the life of one of racing's great characters

Formula 1
May 2, 2021
Why Todt’s FIA successor could be cut from the same cloth Plus

Why Todt’s FIA successor could be cut from the same cloth

Jean Todt has signalled that he will not stand for re-election as FIA president. MARK GALLAGHER analyses the strong credentials of one potential successor…

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull and Mercedes uncertain of supremacy at Portimao Plus

The data that leaves both Red Bull and Mercedes uncertain of supremacy at Portimao

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying

Formula 1
Apr 30, 2021