Bottas team order 'broke my heart' - Wolff

Friday, 28 december 2018, 08:13 , by Matthew Scott

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says he was left heartbroken after making the order for Valtteri Bottas to give up victory at the Russian Grand Prix in order to help Lewis Hamilton's title charge. Bottas ended 2018 without a race win to his name, partly as a result of Wolff's decision.

Hamilton entered Sochi with a 40-point advantage over title rival Sebastian Vettel, which was extended to 50 point by the chequered flag thanks to the Silver Arrows' orchestrated one-two finish.

Bottas had led the race from pole before he was ordered aside, but Wolff said he was not willing to risk Hamilton losing ground in the championship.

"We had to execute this awful team order," Wolff said in Mercedes' end-of-season review.

"It was Valtteri's race to win and in order to collect right points for Lewis, we switched the order.

"It was something that nobody likes, you could see the faces clearly not happy about the situation and also myself, it was something that goes against all our racing principles and 'may the best guy win'.

"But in that instance we had such a tough fight with Ferrari that there was no way we would leave points on the table.

"When Valtteri moved aside, it broke my heart and I felt for him because I felt really terrible about it. But this sport can be cruel sometimes and this was one of those moments."

Looking back to the incident, Bottas said he would accept the orders again if they arose in similar circumstances.

He said: "It was tough to accept, but at that point – with those circumstances, with the points and everything. I'm a team player, I took one for the team and I'd take one for the team tomorrow."

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Comments (20)

  • Reuben Charles
    Apparently Bottas actually said to Toto that he would’ve done the same if he was in Toto’s position. He admitted that he didn’t have enough points at Sochi to be contesting for the championship and that he understood the risk to Hamilton. I was furious with Toto when I heard that order during the race but slowly it started to make sense. I don’t understand why people are so harsh on team orders. It happens all the time.
  • Jamie Paget
    Boyyas folded up this year, I don't understand why. Maybe he see's something inside the team, I don't know, but he really just folded up this year.
  • Tony Snyman
    How do you tell your driver to gift the win to another driver and then chastise him for not winning a race toto is a chop
  • Kenneth Petrie
    They need to get over it. Bottas lost his chance for the championship a long time before he was told to assist LH.
  • Guy Fleshbourne
    Can ya smell that??. What is it??..sheep is it?..cows?..nah I know what it is...it's bullshit!!
  • Greg Reading
    Team orders should be banned. Its a form of cheating
  • Per Axblom
    Bull. They could have gave back many time but didnt.
  • Ricardo Gilperez
    His face always was a sad poem! ... The price of slavery!
  • Steven Barons
    Would LH sacrifice a win for Bottas if circumstances reversed?
  • Christopher Devonald
    There was no need for the team orders
  • Dexter Williams
    Toto is at Troll level 1 million.
  • Eduardo Aparicio
    I don't believe him
  • ???
    Shit comment
  • Lionel Carl M
    Yeah right
  • Joseph Edward Geemar Kho
    Do you believe that?
  • Trance Po
    What a Bollywood~

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