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Mercedes explain Bottas team orders which saved Hamilton

Mercedes explain Bottas team orders which saved Hamilton

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Mercedes explain Bottas team orders which saved Hamilton

Mercedes explain Bottas team orders which saved Hamilton

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff explained that Lewis Hamilton would have dropped two more places at the Singapore Grand Prix, had Valtteri Bottas not complied with team orders.

Hamilton ran an extended opening stint at the Marina Bay Circuit after being undercut by Sebastian Vettel, who moved from third to first and eventually won.

With the power of the undercut so strong, Hamilton also lost third to Max Verstappen, and looked a sitting duck to his team-mate too until Mercedes chief strategist James Vowles ordered Bottas to trim approximately three seconds off his lap time, in order to ensure Hamilton would emerge ahead of him when he stopped, which later transpired.

"It's not a great call that we made there, but the undercut was more powerful than everybody expected," said Wolff.

"I don't think that Ferrari wanted to swap their drivers, with letting Sebastian pit first. And we risked Lewis' position by keeping him out in order to protect the win.

"This is why we held Valtteri back to keep Albon behind, because Lewis would've come out behind Albon. So overall the team result would've been worse than with Valtteri doing that. We owe him that place."

The Finnish driver admitted that driving within his capabilities felt unnatural but he was happy help secure the best result possible for the team.

"Obviously from the outside it looks pretty bad and from my side being in that situation it's completely against your instincts to back off and not overtake your teammate – that doesn't make any sense," Bottas said.

"But it's been there, that kind of rule, since I don't know how long in the team – at least since I joined. But it is both ways - it's not for Lewis, it is both ways. So, it's okay."

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