Valtteri Bottas has confessed that Mercedes will likely not endorse him to win a Grand Prix race this season until his team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, has secured the drivers' championship, following the Russian GP which saw the Finn concede P1 after receiving team orders.
Bottas was poised from position one to win the race in Sochi, but with Hamilton in behind in P2, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff made the order to switch positions in order to give the Brit the victory and more points in the title race.
The Finn admitted that the order was difficult to follow, but understands it was what was best for the team.
"Difficult to put a number. Maybe, 7.7," Bottas responded when asked to quantify how tough the surrender of P1 was.
"Honestly, I already understand it, the situation, if you put yourself in the team leader's shoes. For them, it doesn't matter if it's me or Lewis winning, as long as we're 1-2 we get the maximum points, and for the end of the year it's Lewis fighting for the championship - I'm not.
"So for the team, it is always better that Lewis wins.
"Its not ideal for me, as an athlete, as a person that's a fact, but the only thing that matters for me now, to keep me going for the end of the year, is today I was supposed to win, I could have won the race on equal terms."
The journalist from Sky Sports then asked Bottas if Mercedes would not let him win a race until Hamilton had tied up the championship. He responded with acceptance, before saying he already can't wait until next year when he can return to being competitive.
"Yeah, that's obviously something we discussed within the team," he continued.
"We are playing as a team and I am prepared to play as a team. I took one for the team today and I'd take one for the team tomorrow. That's how it goes, but I'm also looking forward to next year, starting a new year."
Bottas then claimed that, following a poor performance in the Singapore GP, his run in Russia had served in boosting his confidence.
"It is, like I said, I knew, I know from this weekend I was supposed to win," the Mercedes man added.
"I know myself. Myself, I'm the winner of this weekend. I don't have the trophy, but it doesn't matter, that's how it is. We move on."
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