Lewis Hamilton said he didn’t know Mercedes asked Valtteri Bottas to move aside in F1 Spanish GP, as Toto Wolff weighs in on the move.
With Hamilton and Bottas being on different strategy towards the end of F1 Spanish GP, Mercedes asked the Finn to not hold his teammate up, in his pursuit of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen. It wasn’t an easy allowance from him, though, for couple of corners.
Hamilton finally had his way at Turn 10, but lost few tenths behind Bottas, which in a close context would have been crucial – something which Wolff noted as well. For the Brit, though, he was unaware of the radio call and thought he was battling him.
“Honestly I didn’t know that he had a message so in my mind I was like ‘we’re racing’ and that’s totally fine for me, particularly early on in this part of the season so in my mind I was ‘so I’ve got to get close and hope for an overtake’ but then obviously when we went into turn ten, we were on massively different strategies so I was going to get him at some stage because I had much better tyres,” said Hamilton.
“And we were going into turn ten and I thought there was a gap there and I wasn’t quite sure and then there was a gap and Valtteri was completely fair, I wouldn’t lose too much time but this is how we win as a team. We sometimes have to… sometimes we’re in that position where you just… you’ve got to put the team first and getting a second and a third is good but getting a first is obviously max points and that’s key.”
For Bottas, he agreed that he got the message, but added that he was trying to create a gap to Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc at that moment and so, he didn’t wish to slow down in a way, which would have compromised his grand prix there.
“I got the message and obviously we were on different strategies at that point so unless something crazy would happen, I wasn’t really any more with him,” said Bottas. “But the thing was, at that time, I was trying to get Charles off my pit window so I could stop again and try and be ahead of him, so I was really conscious that I didn’t want to lose too much time, and I was really focusing on my race so it was about balancing things.
“Of course, as a racing driver, you prioritise yourself, your race, because that’s what we do but also we work as a team, so you don’t want to ruin the win for the team if that is possible; if it is not possible for you. So I tried to do the best thing I could for us as a team and for myself. It’s always hard doing those kind of things and either know… ask the other driver if he predicts what’s going to happen and where to go but I think in the end it was kind of OK.”
When asked about the move from Bottas of not slowing quick enough for Hamilton to go by, Wolff took it as a racing drivers’ instinct and played down the topic. Although, he added, that if that would have resulted in an adverse outcome, then it would have been critical.
Nevertheless, Wolff stated that he will have some talks with Bottas, in friendly way. “Racing drivers’s instinct are what they are,” he said. “We wished that Lewis being on a different strategy, will be able to get through a bit quicker, but in the end we got the result.
“I can relate to Bottas that he had a tough day again. If it [the delayed move] would have lost the race, then I would have been more critical. It is something we can learn and it is what we will be discussing in a very camaraderie like way [with him].”
Here’s Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen on strategic duel
Here’s what Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen said about Turn 1 fight