Deflating team orders a harsh reality - Wolff

Valtteri Bottas was denied the opportunity to win the Russian Grand Prix when he was told to move aside and allow Lewis Hamilton through.

Mercedes team-mates Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas on the podium in Sochi   -  Getty Images

Toto Wolff knows that ordering Valtteri Bottas to let Lewis Hamilton pass him during the Russian Grand Prix was "deflating" for the Finn, but said the "harsh reality" was that he had to look at the bigger picture.

Bottas started on pole in Sochi on Sunday and was on course for victory in second spot behind Max Verstappen - who had not yet pitted - when team orders came into play on lap 25.

As Bottas moved to the side, Hamilton - who started alongside his team-mate on the front row - flashed past after overtaking and moving away from title rival Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton went on to take a third successive win after the outstanding Verstappen finally went in for new tyres and extend his lead to 50 points, with Bottas completing a Silver Arrows one-two and Vettel third.

READ: Bottas frustrated after Mercedes order Hamilton win

There were muted celebrations from Hamilton, who stated that the win "doesn't feel great" in the circumstances, and Bottas looked flat as he reflected on what might have been.

The Mercedes team principal stated that taking pole was "what the doctor ordered" for Bottas on Saturday, but he may have some wounds to heal despite seeing Hamilton move a step closer to a fifth world title with five races to go.

"It's deflating for a driver and for a team. But, there is a harsh reality that you can extend the lead by several points in a Championship that has been very tough and very difficult at times," said Wolff. 

"Sometimes, you have to take it and this is what we did. We should be over the moon with a one-two and fundamentally we are. But, we also feel that it went against Valtteri - it would have been a race win for him and we changed it."