Mercedes prepared to use team orders again in Japan

Saturday, 06 october 2018, 09:03 , by Matthew Scott

Mercedes won't hesitate to initiate the "necessary evil" of team orders at the Japanese Grand Prix, despite the controversy surrounding their decision to swap Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton's positions in Russia. Hamilton qualified on pole in Suzuka, with Bottas alongside him on the front row, but the Finn can likely forget about any hopes of fighting his team-mate.

With Sebastian Vettel starting eighth and Kimi Raikkonen a notoriously slow starter, it looks likely that the Silver Arrows will be able to control Sunday's race from the front – especially as they will start on the more durable soft tyres.

Toto Wolff conceded that the team's plans in Sochi were thrown out by Max Verstappen's long opening stint and Vettel undercutting Hamilton – but hopes to be better prepared this time around.

"I would want to keep the options open for tomorrow and see how the race goes, and not tend to believe, like we did in Sochi, that we can discuss every eventuality," Wolff said.

"We are trying to learn. Maybe our discussion that we had on Sunday morning in Sochi was a good discussion but didn't consider the situation of us being under pressure in the way we were; in a sandwich like situation with Sebastian all over Lewis and Verstappen in the front.

"It reminds you that the best plan doesn't survive contact with the enemy and that happened in Sochi. So the discussion is going to be a different one, leaving enough space to take decisions that might be a necessary evil.

"The 50-point gap doesn't change anything. In 2007, two races to go, 45 points between the drivers - in today's points - and he lost the championship. Would anybody have thought you could lose 45 points in two races? Impossible.

"Racing happens on Sunday and the quickest car doesn't necessarily win. We had the moment in the summer when we weren't the quickest car and we scored some victories.

"I wouldn't want to take the foot off the pedal because a DNF in a freak race and it's all vanished. So our approach hasn't changed."

MORE: Arrivabene 'very angry' at Ferrari's Suzuka mistake
MORE: Vettel facing 'grim' Japanese GP

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Comments (23)

  • Steven Miller
    Well let's think, if Bottas is in the lead a couple of seconds ahead of Lewis, do Mercedes want to be sweethearts or do they want to be thick? Toto gave the answer to that in Russia, once Lewis has won the Fight For Five, THEN Valtteri will be given all possible support.
  • Adrian Fielder
    Would Ronaldo dive for a penalty would England get beat by Belgium to not meet Brazil in the World Cup. sportsman and athletes push the rules to the max to win so why wouldn’t they do something that is within the rules.
  • Marko Proffa Virkkula
    Wouldn't be surprised, if Ferrari suddenly wanted to change Räikkonen's tires just for sure...
  • Jose Antonio Perez
    Doesn’t matter anymore, Ferrari has already conceded both championships.
  • Michael Oechsle
    They will. As they did in any other race botas was before there cry baby..
  • Teymur Regenmaister
    Yes they will ask Hamilton to pass Bottas this time
  • Manuel Razo
    They don't need them. Hamilton will start on pole and Bottas 2nd.
  • Stephen Chad Danser
    They don’t need to Ferrari will screw it up with out any help
  • Adam Rabih
    Sure they will it they did it before, why not Bottas Hamilton pets
  • Horváth Miklós
    Of course. How can it be a question?
  • Kenneth Petrie
    I think they will if required.
  • Peter Graham
    Why not, i would if i was Toto
  • Matthew Duffy
    They won't need to. Ferrari will keep screwing up
  • Prem Sahadeo
    They wouldn’t need to
  • Vincenzo Mascia
    That’s a face if a crapper lol
  • Teo Mertiri
    Probably not cos loui will win
  • Aouissi Fakhreddine
    Don’t think so
  • Rui Rocha
    Why not???
  • Uffe Thysell
    Gå o lägg dig Toto
  • Roger Taylor
    Not really Hamilton will win!

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