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Bottas hints at early Mercedes block to compete for F1 title this season

Bottas hints at early Mercedes block to compete for F1 title this season

Bottas hints at early Mercedes block to compete for F1 title this season

Bottas hints at early Mercedes block to compete for F1 title this season
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Valtteri Bottas has conceded it felt like he "wasn't allowed" to contend for this year's F1 title by Mercedes but would "take one for the team" to help it win both championships again.

Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton is five points behind championship leader Max Verstappen going into this weekend's Russian Grand Prix, with Bottas 85.5 adrift.

With Hamilton and Verstappen colliding at the Italian Grand Prix last time out and with both retiring, Bottas was asked if he felt he could still fight for the title with eight races remaining.

"I think in Formula 1 you just never know how the season will progress," said Bottas. "There is still a fair amount of races so never say never.

"I will try my best and try to win races and try to be as consistent as I can, bring the points."

As to whether he would be allowed to fight for the championship, he added: "I don't know really, I need to ask Toto [Wolff, Mercedes team principal]. For sure, it is still a reasonable gap in the points.

"At least earlier on in the season, I felt like I wasn't allowed anymore for the contention but you never know. We go race by race.

"For me personally, coming here is different so the only thing that is in my mind is winning. That is the only thing that matters to me and at least that is my approach for this week."

Bottas will "take one for the team"

Bottas caused concern in both Spain and the Netherlands as he seemingly held up Hamilton in Barcelona before almost denying his team-mate the fastest-lap bonus point at Zandvoort despite opposing instruction.

On whether the team had discussed with him being deployed as a wingman for Hamilton's title charge, the Finn explained: "We have discussed many things internally including different scenarios.

"Every race is different and there could be times that we need to play as a team and I need to take one for the team."

Confirming he would move aside for Hamilton to gain points, Bottas added: "At this situation, yes, I would do it.

"We are here as a team and we need to make sure we win both the titles. Not only the constructors' but the drivers'.

"At the moment, Lewis has the greater chance for that so that is the situation."

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