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Mercedes rule out using Bottas to 'bunch up' to aid Hamilton's recovery

Mercedes rule out using Bottas to 'bunch up' to aid Hamilton's recovery

F1 News

Mercedes rule out using Bottas to 'bunch up' to aid Hamilton's recovery

Mercedes rule out using Bottas to 'bunch up' to aid Hamilton's recovery

Toto Wolff has made clear Mercedes does not intend to use pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas tactically to aid team-mate Lewis Hamilton's Turkish Grand Prix recovery.

Bottas was promoted to pole position for the Istanbul Park race after Hamilton was hit by a 10-place grid penalty for fitting a fourth engine of the F1 season, dropping him to P11.

Although Hamilton is involved in a fierce drivers' title fight with Max Verstappen, who starts second at Istanbul Park, Mercedes will prioritise the constructors' battle as it seeks to extend its 33-point advantage over Red Bull.

"For Valtteri, Valtteri is going to race his race," confirmed Wolff. "This is about the race win and Valtteri’s win and the team’s win and we are not going to do any bunching up."

Mercedes limited to strategy to aid Hamilton

Both Hamilton and Wolff conceded after qualifying that progressing through the field may not be as simple as had been expected in Turkey after struggling behind a Williams and a Haas on Friday.

With nine of the top 10 starting on the same medium compound, Hamilton's race has been further complicated.

“It would have been easier if we would have had a tyre offset strategy but the hards in those conditions would have been a little bit too bold," said Wolff.

"Therefore we expected that some of the other guys around us would run the soft in Q2 just to make sure they’re in the top 10 and that didn’t happen. So that was a little bit of a setback.

“But it is what it is. We can only try to do the utmost and I wouldn’t want to have any other driver in the car when it is about overtaking and going through the field than Lewis.

“Having said that, on Friday we simulated some of these situations and it is very difficult to follow in traffic.

"It’s a phenomenon that we have seen all year but it could be something we need to fight so there will be not many options left than to try with the strategy and obviously, I hope that the front train is not disappearing in the distance."

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