Toto Wolff says Valtteri Bottas proved himself as a race-winning driver, despite Mercedes' team orders denying the Finn a first grand prix victory of the season in Russia. Bottas beat Lewis Hamilton to pole in Sochi and kept hold of his lead early on, only to be ordered aside to help his team-mate's title bid.
As a result of Hamilton's assisted win in Russia, he is now 50 points clear of Sebastian Vettel, with just five races remaining.
Bottas said he was "confused" about the order, but accepted that Mercedes had made the best decision for the team as a whole by sacrificing him.
Wolff backed up Bottas' claim that he was "the winner of this weekend", despite climbing onto the second step of the podium after the chequered flag fell.
The Silver Arrows' chief said: "The true strength of a team reveals itself in what individuals are prepared to sacrifice for the group.
"Valtteri was willing to sacrifice his win in Sochi to help protect our 1-2 and extend our lead in both championships - and he said he'd be prepared to do the same again tomorrow. That tells you everything you need to know about the quality and integrity of his character.
"Valtteri proved in Sochi that he is a race-winning Grand Prix driver: he put it on pole, controlled the race and had the pace to win. And he also showed that he is a great team player when we need him to be in the final stages of the season.
"It wasn't an easy call to make even though it was the right one for the points situation.
"I think every one of us was facing this struggle between our head and our heart on Sunday, but there is no hard-and-fast rule or matrix you can apply.
"Whatever scenarios you think through, the old military saying is that "no plan survives first contact with the enemy", and we saw that again in Russia with how the race unfolded.
"Each call has its own context and we may face more tough moments before the year is over. But we will handle each one on its merits and face them together, as a strong team."
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