Valtteri Bottas shrugged and said he accepted the team orders that meant he came home second behind Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in Sunday's German Grand Prix. The Finn had a chance to win the race in the closing stages when, on fresh tyres, he attacked Hamilton, but was unable to pass him — and was then told to “hold position.”
“We had a bit of a battle out there, the first lap after the safety car,” said Bottas, referring to the resumption of racing following Sebastian Vettel's crash. “But I didn't get past him and then I was told to minimise the risk...Which I understand.”
He accepted the instruction without drama knowing that, two days after his 2019 contract confirmation, it was better for him to do so. “From my side, no hard feelings on the call,” he said. “It made complete sense for me. We had the battle and that was it. I'd already lost the race before that with the safety car so it didn't really go my way. Here you need a quite a big pace difference to overtake and being more or less on equal tyres it would have been really tricky.
‘Perfect result for us’
“I think, for Lewis, the safety car was better-timed. He stayed out and I had to stop. As a driver, of course, a win is what you're looking after,” Bottas said. “But taking positives as the team, it was a perfect result for us in Germany, our home Grand Prix for Mercedes. So that's good.”
Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff explained why it used team orders and did not allow the drivers to race for victory. “We didn't have the quickest car here,” he said. “And we need to progress for the next races because that is the most important. It was still raining at the time and the fight was so intense. There was all to lose with the bad luck that we had in the last races and we wanted to keep it calm. It's motor racing. The race happens on Sunday, not Saturday. All the bad luck that we have had come back to us with tremendous good luck. And that makes me happy.”
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