Mercedes F1 team orders in Russia defended by Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel has defended Mercedes' tactics in the Russian Grand Prix, calling the rival Formula 1 team's decision to move Valtteri Bottas aside for Lewis Hamilton a "no-brainer"

Mercedes F1 team orders in Russia defended by Sebastian Vettel

Hamilton inherited victory at Sochi when Mercedes told Bottas, who was on course for his first win of the season, to let the championship leader past.

Victory for Hamilton, combined with Bottas keeping Vettel at bay for the rest of the race, means Vettel trails the Mercedes driver by 50 points with five races to go.

Vettel said: "Well done to both of them, they played together as a team very well.

"In their defence, all the questions - I know you guys love controversy so therefore ask naughty questions to them as individuals, but I think in the position they are it's a no-brainer what they did today.

"Maybe not all the questions are justified."

Mercedes had used team orders before the race-defining call, having asked Bottas to slow down and back Vettel up to try to avoid Hamilton - who pitted a lap later than Vettel - from being overtaken by the Ferrari when he stopped.

Although that failed and Vettel got ahead, Hamilton was able to re-pass his rival on his way to an eighth win of the season that means he is two victories clear of Vettel in the fight for the 2018 crown.

There are 125 points available this season but the gap is the largest it has been all year.

"I'm clever enough, I wasn't a genius in maths but I was clever enough to pay attention to make out for myself that it's not getting easier if we lose points," said Vettel.

"We have to be happy with third, and settle with that for today.

"I still believe in our chance yes. Obviously it's not getting bigger if you finish behind but who knows.

"It takes one DNF and all of a sudden things look different. Ideally two! Which I'm not wishing to Lewis, but you never know what happens.

"We need to stay on top of our game, which maybe we haven't been completely this weekend, and make sure from where we are now we focus on winning the last races."

shares
comments
Gasly says debris hit his F1 helmet on first lap of Russian GP

Previous article

Gasly says debris hit his F1 helmet on first lap of Russian GP

Next article

Lewis Hamilton didn't want Mercedes team orders in Russian GP

Lewis Hamilton didn't want Mercedes team orders in Russian GP
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Sebastian Vettel
Teams Mercedes
Author Scott Mitchell
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

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
How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion Plus

How in-form Norris is staking his claim as Britain's next F1 champion

As a highly-rated Mercedes junior, George Russell is naturally billed as Lewis Hamilton's heir apparent where Britain's next Formula 1 champion is concerned. But he may face competition for that accolade from Lando Norris, fresh from a confidence-boosting run to third at Imola, whose rise is being accelerated by his McLaren team’s revival

Formula 1
Apr 29, 2021