“The worst thing a driver can hear”: Valtteri Bottas comes to terms with Mercedes F1 team order
Innovation
Valtteri Bottas
Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Apr 2017   |  9:45 am GMT  |  257 comments

“I think honestly as a racing driver it’s maybe the worst thing you want to hear (an order to move over for your team mate).

“For sure I did it because there was potential. Lewis could challenge Sebastian. In the end it didn’t happen but the team tried which I completely understand but personally it is tough but that’s life. I didn’t have enough pace today and we need to find the reasons why that was.”

Valtteri Bottas

The words of a rueful Valtteri Bottas after the Bahrain Grand Prix reflecting on the call from Mercedes to let Lewis Hamilton through into second place on Lap 47, with ten laps to go to the end.

A week earlier in China, Ferrari had declined to do the same with Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel lost time to Hamilton and eventually had to pass Raikkonen on track to make progress. Ferrari’s policy is not to issue an order early in the season – until one driver has a clearly superior mathematical chance of the title. Few in the F1 paddock felt that this was the right thing to do in China.

So what was behind this decision from Mercedes in the third race of the season and does it cast Bottas in the Felipe Massa or David Coulthard mould of the number two driver who moves over when requested, never to become world champion?

David Coulthard

Coulthard obeyed an order in Australia 1998, after Mika Hakkinen had misheard a radio call and pitted in error. McLaren boss Ron Dennis, feeling that Hakkinen was the more likely driver to be able to beat Michael Schumacher to the world title, ordered Coulthard to move over, saying that Hakkinen was rightfully the leader due to a problem he suffered. Coulthard arguably never recovered from that to be able to mount a career like Nico Rosberg’s where he eventually created an opportunity to win a world championship.

So is Bottas heading the same way?

Not necessarily.

A team order such as was issued on Sunday is not only the worst thing for a driver to hear, it is also the worst thing for a team representative to say. Whatever Rob Smedley’s achievements in F1, he will always be remembered as the engineer who said to Massa (below), “Fernando is faster than you.”

Alonso, Massa Germany 2010

There has to be a reason behind it and that has to be about what is best for the team’s interest to win a race. After the race there has to be a full debrief with all data with both drivers in which the situation and the decision are explained.

All teams are different and the exact words used on Sunday are not known, although sources suggest that Bottas was fine with the detailed explanation. His words in the press conference even before that debrief had taken place indicate that he knew he wasn’t fast enough. What he will have wanted to know is how real Hamilton’s chances of victory were at that point? Or was it just about giving Hamilton the extra three points for second place to keep in closer touch with Vettel, which would be less acceptable at this early stage of the season and demotivating for Bottas?

A bit of research on Sunday night around the F1 paddock indicates an ‘enlightened’ team order is usually done by explaining that the other driver is on a different plan and has new tyres and is much faster with a chance to win the race. If the driver ahead feels he has the pace to do it, now is his chance for the next two or three laps to speed up and show it.

This puts the responsibility in the hands of the driver in front. If he speeds up, the car positions stay as they are and it’s up to the following driver to find a way past.

If he does not, as Bottas didn’t on Sunday, then he realises himself that the game is up and to stay ahead would be to cost the team a chance of winning the race, which in turn means 7 fewer points in the Constructors’ Championship.

Valtteri Bottas

Race pace deficit

Hamilton was grateful and conciliatory towards his new team mate, in the same way as he was remarkably gracious when Bottas took pole on Saturday.

The motives for both reactions were the same; Hamilton is a good bit faster than Bottas in race pace and has been right since the start of testing. While Bottas has done very well on the single lap pace to close the gap in qualifying from around 3/10ths on Australia, down to 2/10ths in China and pole in Bahrain, he still has a long way to go to match Hamilton in races. Raikkonen is similarly adrift of Vettel at Ferrari.

Bottas had the added issue of a tyre pressure error at the first stint, but by his own admission he generally wasn’t quick enough in any of the three stints.

In stint two of the race, the team had allowed Hamilton to sit behind Bottas for 10 laps, from Lap 17 to Lap 27. During that time Vettel opened the gap up over Hamilton from 1.9secs to 6.7 seconds. Arguably the team made a mistake in allowing this to happen. Vettel’s second stint was what won him the race, the fastest fuel corrected pace of anyone in the race.

“I just couldn’t keep up with the pace,” said of the early part of the race. “The tyres were just dropping. Then on the second stint it was a bit better initially. I think the second stint was not that far off. Still struggling with oversteer but much less than in the first one, and then the last stint, again, used the tools I had to adjust the car balance but still couldn’t get the rear end to work.

“Really strange race for me and the pace was disappointingly poor for me. Yeah, not a good day for me.”

Hamilton had the pace to challenge Vettel on the soft tyre, which is why he used it for two stints in the race. He lost the minimum amount of time getting through Bottas, but Vettel had something in hand and turned his engine up from Laps 50 to 53 to tell Hamilton that he had some reserve. Hamilton realised it and the signs are he cooled it, as his lap times dropped in the final three laps.

Look at the race trace below, Hamilton’s line is the solid blue, Bottas the dotted blue. The gaps between the lines show the gaps in seconds and the upward curve shows the pace, the more steeply upward the curve, the greater the pace. A version of this in real time is what the Mercedes team will have been looking at to inform their decision.

Hamilton lost the race due to a series of setbacks, which started with not getting pole, then losing a place at the start to Vettel, then making an error under the Safety Car, which attracted a five second penalty then being constrained to take used soft tyres for the final stint as Mercedes was struggling on race day to get the supersofts to perform and to last.

That he got as close as he did shows his remarkable pace on soft tyres, but in reality Vettel had the race won. One can understand why Mercedes felt it was worth trying it with the team order, but they will be monitoring carefully any negative effect on Bottas’ motivation and spirit going forward.

The good news for the Finn is that the next race is Russia, historically his strongest track and an ideal place to show what he can do.

What do you think of this situation? Would you have done the same thing if you were on the Mercedes pit wall? Leave your comment below


Featured Innovation
INNOVATION BRIEFING
Share This:
Posted by:
Category:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.

257 comments

by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest
1

Interesting insights. This race showed what many people including myself feared: Bottas is seemingly no match to Hamilton. I still want to give him the benefit of the doubt though, I really hope he can up his game and find a few more tenths. The first few laps of the race were amazing with 6 cars covered by 3 seconds. I hope we will see more of this, but I fear

2

J:
I disagree about "... Bottas is seemingly no match to Hamilton. ...".
Bottas' improvement curve is just about what you'd expect from a top-notch driver, peaking with a qualifying victory, solid evidence.
My position can be checked over the next 2-4 races, comparing performance when both cars are without issues, i.e. Bottas' supposed tire pressure issue undermined his competitiveness in such a way that there was nothing he could do; if the same problem affected Hamilton, he wouldn't be competitive against Bottas either (but he might not pull over and let Bottas pass, wouldn't he?)
But will we see an actual trend of Bottas never quite getting an on par car, or a distinct pattern of lesser so than Lewis, much like Lewis statistical disadvantage to Rosberg in equipment in 2016, but with Bottas on the short end of the stick in 2017, and/or combination of sub-par pit-stop work?

I'm a big appreciator of Lewis' apparent superlatives in-car capability.

But, it is predictable that a rushed-in driver might take time to acclimate, and also not get on-par support (for any number of reasons these large, multi-national FOR-PROFIT corporate entities might have) compared to the 'champion'*

* - recognizing that Rosberg won last year, but Lewis is the most recent WDC on the grid, and a three-time champ at that.

3

His tire pressures were only high for the first 18 laps. Doesn't explain the poor pace of his 2nd stint on SS's.

4

I see Bottas catching up to Hamilton but I dont seem him surpassing him.

5

In the first 3 races, in qualifying he has done quite well. 3 tenths in Australia, 2 tenths in China, pole position in Bahrein. This is a driver who most people thought was a lot slower than Rosberg and we know what those same people thought about Nico and yet he beame Worl Champion.
Let's give Valtteri a bit of time and a chance which seems Mercedes is not willing to do.

6

It's looking like Bottas had issues with his car, Jeroen. I think we'll need more data before we can decide how much faster Hamilton is than Bottas. Some are saying Bottas had his car set up more for qualifying than a long race.

One thing is certain: Hamilton was flying during the last stint as his fuel lowered—an absolute pleasure to watch.

7

Bottas is new to the team, the cars was not designed for him and the amount of data available for his driving is limited. He and the team both have a learning curve. It need not be that the car had problems, just the driver and team had problems getting it to work for Bottas. Bottas acted like a professional and some day the strategy will play out where he needs to come through. Hamilton and the team needs to remember that. I have a great deal of respect for Bottas and the rate of his improvement. Hamilton is going to have his hands full this season. Whoever wins the championship will have earned it. Lets have more races where someone gets chased down at the end. A great pass for the win will be the cherry on the cake!

8

"but Vettel had something in hand and turned his engine up from Laps 50 to 53 to tell Hamilton that he had some reserve"

How do you describe Vettel's stint if Hamilton's was "pleasure to watch"?

9

Yes, indeed, interesting. I can't help wonder if Bottas though in the second stint showed signs of a problem he'd displayed when at Williams: he lets his head drop if things aren't going his way...

10

Look at his laptimes after Hamilton overtook him relative to Vettel & Hamiton. I.e immediately after he gives way he intentionally drops his pace because he was not fighting for victory anymore and Kimi was way behind to cause him any trouble. So he most probably turned down his PU

11

I seem to recall that when Rosberg was with Mercedes Toto had a policy of no team orders, we'll (mostly) let them race.

Obviously that's out the window.

Here's what I think (and I might well be wrong):

After Rosberg quit they had to get somebody in the car. For various reasons they couldn't get any of the drivers they they were gunning for so they went the best of the rest, but in 2018 a few of those drivers will be up for grabs.

I really do hope that I'm wrong, but I strongly suspect that Bottas is just a placeholder until a better prospect becomes available and that in the meantime they're just looking to keep Hamilton happy.

12

To be fair to Bott and the team, Merc never had a Ferrari up the road and round the corner. True there were few team orders after the memorable Ross Brawn instruction to Ros in Ham's first year if you remember that?
The times they are a changin' !

13

Mercedes' prime targets for that other seat were clearly not willing to take the job if it was to be a contracted second-driver to Hamilton. Don't see that is going to change for 2018.

14

Cyber. You have no reason to believe that anyone was offered a contracted number two job at Mercedes, including Bottas.

15
Martin O. Powell

Sir, it sounds like you were in the room, each and every time!

16

What makes you think that the other drivers were going to be contracted second-driver, or that Bottas is?

17

No Bottas isn't a placeholder, they had to make "some arrangements" with Williams to secure him for this season, so this wouldn't be for a placeholder arrangement in the team!!
Sure Bottas needs to perform, but he isn't even a race winner. It's going to be hard work for him over a season to beat Hamilton; I don't think anybody expects that even. His job probably is to keep scoring points & aid the team in WCC.

Regarding Better prospects, Alonso (if you meant him) isn't coming to Mercedes. The only other option if there is one is Wehrlein, but he was passed over I think for Bottas.

18

Bottas will be fine! He's just going through growing pains of being on a top team!

19

have you forgotten monaco 2016 when nico was 2 seconds a lap slower?

20

He was 3 seconds slower last year after letting Hamilton past. Maybe he turned down his PU too? 😉

Rosberg was 0.5s/lap slower at Monaco '15 in the dry.

21

I did say "mostly" 🙂

22

Random, you are wrong. When Mercedes needed a driver they had an obvious, cheap and easy option in Wehrlein. If they wanted a number two or place holder, then they would have gone with Pascal. They went for Valterri because he was the best driver they could get at short notice. Negotiating Bottas out of that Williams contract took a lot of effort and money, but they did it because they thought he would score more points than Pascal would have.
The previous Mercedes policy of no team orders is still in place, but the situation has changed now. If the two Mercs had been running first and second, (as they usually were over the last three years) then there would have been no team order, Lewis would have had to overtake Valterri on track to take the win, and Bslterri would have been free to defend. The obvious difference yesterday was they were running second and third, and only Lewis had the pace to challenge for the win, so they did the right thing and told Valterri not to get in the way.

23

TimW: "The previous Mercedes policy of no team orders is still in place"
Mercedes issued a very clear team order, so what are you on about?

24

Point by point Tim:

"Random, you are wrong"

Very possibly 🙂

"They went for Valterri because he was the best driver they could get at short notice"

Exactly as I said - The best driver they could get at short notice is not the same thing as getting the best driver that they wanted.

"Negotiating Bottas out of that Williams contract took a lot of effort and money, but they did it because they thought he would score more points than Pascal would have"

Absolutely agreed. It was down to either Bottas or Wehrlein and Wehrlein was too much of a gamble.

"The previous Mercedes policy of no team orders is still in place, but the situation has changed now"

I'm not sure how the policy of no team orders is still in place when they're giving team orders, and as you said the situation has changed.

"so they did the right thing and told Valterri not to get in the way"

Agreed, and I never meant to imply otherwise.

I wasn't commenting on the wrongness of Mercedes giving team orders (because it wasn't and isn't wrong) - I was commenting on what I think is the situation within the team.

And again, if it turns out that I *am* wrong then I'm more than happy to be 🙂

25

Random, what you actually said was "they couldn't get any of the drivers they they were gunning for", but it seems that Bottas was one of the drivers they were gunning for. My main point that if they wanted a place holder, they had a much easier option in Wehrlein still stands.
The team orders policy is the same as it has always been, namely if one driver is significantly slower than the other, then he can expect to be asked to move out of the way if it is affecting the teams overall finishing position. This was the case in Monaco last year when they asked Nico to move out of the way, and was the case in Bahrain on Sunday. There is no reason to believe that the policy has changed in it's main standpoint, which is that the drivers are free to race each other for wins. Like I said if Seb hadn't been in front on Sunday there is no way Mercedes would have tried to move Valterri out of the way of Lewis.

26

Some good points but it seems we're not going to fully agree on this, so how about this: Let's wait and see if Bottas ends up being re-signed for 2018.

27

Asking Bot to let Ham through to try for the race win was the sensible thing to do - even if it was a long shot. Not doing so would have meant Merc settling for 2nd and 3rd and allowing Ham through (when he was so much quicker) at least presented a half chance of a win.
Personally I think Merc will need to decide which driver they are backing this season - the days when it was a guaranteed Merc double are gone and with Ferrari already throwing their weight behind Vet, it means Merc will need to do the same if they want to compete for the titles this season.

28

C63, not only do i love your username, your sensibility is a shining beacon to other posters. Adding to your comment, I think mercedes should have move bottas aside sooner. He was clearly struggling for pace, which brought RBR into the picture. Had max not crashed with brake failure they might not have podiumed. On the flip side, seeing the jubilation in valterri's eyes on saturday, anyone would be hard pressed to deny him the opportunity to fight. Still this is f1, as toto said there are 1400+ people working their butts off for victories. They can't afford to risk it for Bottas's sake. Being as close as it is, mercedes will have to adopt proactive strategies if they hope to retain their titles. Gone are the days when they can afford 2 number 1's. They don't have the pace and ferrari/vettel are hungry!

29

oblah
Thank you for your very kind words . You are right about moving Bottas aside sooner (although hindsight makes it easier to see) but I think Merc find themselves in something of a quandary right now. They are not used to handing drivers team orders and I suspect they feel a bit uncomfortable doing so. As you say, though, they will need to sort something out as they are up against a formidable foe in Ferrari and they don't appear to suffer overly when asking their drivers to move over.

30

@ C63....But mercedes was yet again wrong. Hamilton was not fast enough to challenge vettel therefore he should've given the place back to bottas. Had they done that then there would be some truth in wolff's statement that they are free to race!

31

I have no doubt you saw the post race chit chat on Sky as you tend to hoover up all F1 content - Pat Symonds knows what's what and he had it about right IMO. Merc need to throw their weight behind one driver if they have any ambitions of retaining the WCC and WDC, and whether you like it or not - Hamilton is their best bet. I mean seriously Kenneth, who would you choose ? On the one hand we have a triple world champ with dozens of wins and poles under his belt and on the other we have a driver who has yet to win a single race and has a single pole. It's not even a close call.

32

@ C63...Yes, you may be right but why the facade? Why maintain this 'faux' image of supporting both drivers' freedom to race for a win? You draw comparisons between the two drivers [DUH] but the Bottas stats won't change if he becomes the dedicated support driver. As another poster pointed out, as soon as hamilton was gifted the pass Bottas' times fell away! Yes, he didn't even try to stick with hamilton. Had he done that then there was due cause for Hamilton to give the place back after failing in his attempt to pass vettel. That was never going to happen. I think that mercedes knew that and they used that as a pretense to get hamilton into second to the detriment of bottas. Then again i may be totally wrong.

33

The problem kenneth, is that you really, really don't like Hamilton (fair enough) and you tend to view everything he says, does and which affects him through that prism of dislike. It's clear that Mercedes gave Bottas every opportunity in Bahrain to maintain his position before they asked him to make way for Ham - but he just wasn't quick enough. Not when he had the wrong tyre pressures nor after when they had pitted for new tyres. So what does the team do? Just settle for a guaranteed 2nd and 3rd or roll the dice - ask Bot to make way, and maybe, just maybe sneak the win? It's not like they were running 1st and 2nd and they asked Bot to make way as Ferrari have done [more than once] in the past.

34

If I was Mercedes - yes
Is it what I want to see - no

There are multiple reasons why I dislike team orders, probably foremost that it promotes some really ugly driver 'entitlement' attitudes and behaviours.
Seb at redbull for example.

35

AJ, I guess it depends on the result. If Merc hadn't moved Valterri out of Lewis' way on Sunday, then it would have been a pretty uninteresting run to the flag to watch. With Lewis not having to waste time getting passed his team mate, we had a more exciting final stint wondering if he could catch Seb or not.

36

Bottas set his car up for optimum qualy pace and Hamilton sacrificed some of that so he could be more competitive in the race. The race pace difference was obvious enough. With tht being said, this is shaping up to be the season of the decade. Would love to see Hamilton rack up the race wins , but a battle to Abu Dhabi against vettee is so much more satisfying. Clash of the titans.

37

I disagree. You can't really setup solely for qually, ignoring race pace. Their are no points for saturday. Ferrari, needs to setup kimi's car and stop giving him terrible, impossible strategies.

38

I agree, the set up was a definitive factor in the outcome to Bottas' race. Tyre pressures included.

Perhaps the boys behind the screens knew it and so did the drivers so it was no real issue when the time came in the race.

The more important issue here is that Hamilton has proved to be the number one driver of the team whether anyone likes it or not. Wolff knows it, may not want to admit it publicly.

39

@ Toeclipper, but that No1 driver in the faster car couldn't get past bottas without team orders. Now if Vettel had a faster car [he did] how did mercedes, in their wildest dreams think that he could've passed vettel for the win?

40

Bottas will win in Russia.

41

Is Hamilton and Vettel going to be there??!!

42
Clarks4WheelDrift

... only if Lewis tries to run Seb off the outside of the track and he doesn't yield causing them both to retire...

43

Clarkes, did you see Seb run Bottas off the edge of the track at turn one in Bahrain? Happens all the time....

44

You mean turn 4, at the restart? The classic wedge out. But just imagine if Lewis had done that? Bedlam would ensue.

45

Whatelse was he meant to do give him space?

46

Rockie, of course not, I was just making the point that the move Seb made was completely acceptable, but when Lewis does the same thing it suddenly becomes completely unnaceptable!

47

Bottas has never been beaten in Sochi. But he's up against Hamilton, and he is going to be more focused after Bahrain.

48

What do you mean he hasn't been beaten in Sochi? How's that possible? I don't remember him winning a race yet!

49

Guessing he means by a teammate. Same could be said for Hamilton too ... can't really include 2016 after Hamilton had to start P10 because of unreliability in qualifying.

50

Agree. Look for another "compressor malfunction" this time in the other half of the garage.

51

It is his best chance

And he needs to

52

Yes to be fair Bottas has gone well as Sochi with Williams.

I expect Raikkonen to have another dreary race there as it is not a track that suits him.

Raikkonen needs to get much closer to Vettel from Spain onwards or else he will cost Ferrari the WCC (and me my wager!)

53

James , if Raikonen or ferrari up there game even more is it likely a return to Massa's seat for Bottas? Like a sale and return minus the disrespect to Bottas. If ferrari get the constructors surely that's that. I'm hoping not.

54

No, Merc will have a very stable number 2 in Bottas, since he has more chances of upping his game than Kimi.

55

Nah!
From what I've seen, his best chance is Monaco since he is mastering the 1 lap qualy mode. Starting from pole and reaching the 1st corner in 1st will make you win the race, period.
But Toto will always tell him to let Hami by, so it doesn't really matter. Right?

56

John3vtas. If Valterri is running in first place, then Toto won't be telling him to let Lewis by, if he is running ahead of Lewis and maintaining a decent pace, then he won't be told to let Lewis by, but if he is ahead of Lewis and so slow it is costing Mercedes any chance of winning the race then Toto will give the order.

57

Will Bottas be allowed to win Russia?-Merc is rethinking it's team orders strategy.

58

Why not, if he's quick enough?

59
Stephen Taylor Taylor

That would be because a Bottas will take points away from Lewis as well. Mercedes need to back Hamilton's WDC bid now 100% as it is clear to me even now Bottas has no chance of challenging for the title realistically. They may as well get him (VB) to move over starting from Sochi or risk losing the WDC.

60

We are getting a little ahead of ourselves. Both Vettel & hamilton can have a string of non finishes due to taking each other out or reliability and suddenly you could find Kimi finding his form & Bottas leading the WDC, hey anything is possible.

61

In reality VB only has a one year contract.
There's a very good chance based on his current level of performance that he's easily heading for a two year extension so he's hardly likely to upset the apple cart.
It's also looking more and more probable that if Seb and Lewis keep trading blows then at some point Mercedes are gonna have to pick a driver or potentially lose the drivers championship. Bottom line is the rules of engagement for last year don't work when you throw a Ferrari into the Mercedes mix.
Personally I much prefer Bottas to Hamilton but from a team management perspective you've gotta back Lewis.

62

From what we saw in this race, Mercedes has already chosen Hamilton to be their preferred driver. When Rosberg was around, it wasn't until second half of the season before Mercedes considered if one of the drivers should be given priority. I actually think they managed Hamilton/Rosberg very well through the years, where we also observed that by default they had to race each other to pass the other. Sad to see that Mercedes appear to favour one above the other so early in the season, though I do recognize Hamilton clearly had more speed in his car this last weekend. I would be interested to see a race where the opposite situation may appear and how Mercedes pitwall and the drivers will handle that!

63

All this talk of Mercedes favouring Hamilton is based on some people not wanting Hamilton to do well. The Mercedes team itself wants the race win.Some here seems to be suggesting that Bottas should be made bigger than the team,and Mercedes should sacrifice a potential race win just to be fair to Bottas..Has Lewis found something in the car set-up, as he did in 2014 where he often sacrificed pole position for great race pace? We shall see going forward.

64

Spot on the mark!

Not having team orders only works when your car has a massive advantage over the rest of the field ala 2014 -16.

If Mercedes want to win both championships this season then they must employ team orders. Having said that Merc have been cumbersome in employing their team orders so far, they need to be much slicker.

65

They probably won't do it until the 1/2 way point of the season!

66

F1canmaker, that's a very balanced and sensible viewpoint.

67

The real question is not whether he can match or -mock drum roll- beat Hamilton... it's whether he can keep a certain ageing Finn at bay for the WCC. Accomplish that and you can continue driving silver arrows Valterii... way to go!

68

Everyone was criticizing Ferrari for giving orders but everybody does exactly the same - McLaren and now Mercedes. Obviously, those who were criticizing at a time did not have a shot at the title back then. Now when they do (Mercedes in this case), they act in absolutely the same way as Ferrari did in the past. I find that a bit cynical.

69
Tornillo Amarillo

Not the same way though.

70

/sarcastic on
Not just a bit, mate. Don't be shy when saying it: It's like hugely cynical.
But since it's LH winning they simply don't care.
/sarcastic off

71

Team orders are now allowed, whereas in 2010 & in 2007 they weren't allowed!! There is big difference in that. You can't just violate the rules for "team's sake" & ridiculously deny it.

72

Give the guy a chance ,he's hardly being destroyed! Think when we started a new job were we straight on the pace of our new co workers ?

73

Exactly. 3 races in and he's getting there. If he wins a race or 2 by year end I would be thinking it would motivate him to have a major crack at a drivers title next year.

74

I asserted that Bottas is as good as Vettel,and I still stand by that. Despite having pace problems, vettel could not overtake him. He showed some steel keeping vettel behind and even challenging him. He must have had some technical issues. Bottas is getting in Lewis's way,while Raikkonen is too much a doormat to get in vettel's way.We can see who is having it easier.

75

Hamilton couldnt overtake Bottas for 14 laps even though Bottas had car issues. Neither could be overtake Max in Australia with a race advantage & fresher tyre advantage of 2 seconds. So your point of Vettel not being able to overtake Bottas is way of the mark

76

Neither could Hamilton without the team order!

77

He will never win a WDC if Hamilton's there!

78

That Bottas made poleposition in just his second race for Mercedes bodes very well !

Unfortunately, it also indicates that 12+ other drivers on the grid also could make poleposition if they were given the same car!

79

Cyber. 12? Really? Names please.

80

1- Esteban Tuero
2- Paul Belmondo
3- Alex Yoong
4- Sergio Canamasas
5- Marco Apicella
6- Al Pease
7- Giovanni Amati
8- Yuji Ide ( pretty sure it was he who once got craned off the track as he couldn't figure out how to take the steering wheel off)
9- Taki Anoui
10- Chanock Nisssany (once complained about the car having too much grip)
11- Michael Andretti
12- Nico Rosberg (how that guy won a single race let alone a WDC I'll never know)

Apologies, I've just realised he mean't drivers on the 'grid'. In which case write the twenty remaining names down, put them in a hat and blindly draw twelve from that and there is your answer.

81

You really are hilarious Sarsippious, and there is obviously a weight of intellect behind your humour! Strange that Mercedes didn;t see the joke and put all that effort into getting Bottas when they could have had Haryanto for nothing! Silly Mercedes!

82

there is obviously a weight of intellect behind your humour

Its a shame you marinated that comment in the bath for three days with sarcasm otherwise you would've had me thinking you've actually got me figured out at last.

83

All that effort into getting Bottas? As in giving Williams some discounted engines? Totally Tomothy!

84

Sarsippious, yeah weeks of protracted negotiations, millions of Euros, waiting for Williams to lure Massa back, the early release of Paddy Lowe and all for nothing when they could have got Haryanto for the price of a phone call.....I'm sure you are right.

85

I'm sure you are right

That comment has been saved, printed out and soon a picture of it will reside on the fridge beside all the other 'highlight' moments of my life.

86

Exactly!!!

87

Max wasn't bad after being thrown in mid-season. Daniel wasn't shabby in his first season at Red Bull either.

88

What started a job. Botta not a rookie.

He is good driver with good manner. Mercedes did a stupid thing and that's it

89

S andretti, Mercedes did something to try and win the race. That's not stupid.

90

Unfortunately for Bottas yes, the truly great drivers do exactly that. A good example would be Verstappen at the Spanish Grand Prix last year

91

Let's not forget that Max won that race only because the Mercedes drivers managed to take each other out _and_ Red Bull messed up Ricciardo's strategy.

92

Bottas just has to be naughty when he knows he has the pace. They wont diciplin him for winning. WDC are won by being naughty.

93

The solution for the Mercedes team would seem reasonably straightforward and would not require them to give either driver No 1 status. They issue a rule that if one car is faster than the other, then the driver in front has to let the faster car through without impeding them. They only allow the two drivers to race one another when there is no threat from another team.

94

"They issue a rule that if one car is faster than the other, then the driver in front has to let the faster car through without impeding them."

If one car is faster than the other why not make a clean pass with or without DRS? Surely someone as GREAT as Lewis Hamilton is could've pulled that maneuver off with race win on the line.

95

Let's just make things difficult for Hamilton just for the heck of it. Why should Mercedes deliberately make things difficult for their faster driver to win a race the team itself badly wants to win.Both drivers are employed to win races for the team first and foremost, and as a consequence ,they can both benefit individually if faster than their teammate. In this case,the faster driver has benefited. When has Hamilton ever refused a team order to the detriment of the team.

96

Hungary 2007 & Hungary 2014

97

Incorrect

98

Quercia, I believe that system is already in place st Mercedes, and has always been.

99

The only issue with that rule is that if Hamilton is in front he will ignore the order like he has already done before

100

Aaron, "if Hamilton is in front he will ignore the order like he has already done before". When was this?

101

There is however the small problem of convincing Lewis of abiding by that rule... hmm based on past experience, it ain't gonna happen

102

Rafa. It's only come up once, Hungary 2014. The problem was Nico wasn't faster than Lewis, but wanted to be let by anyway!

103

I think Merc should James Ferrari may as well issue their team orders now . There's no way Kimi is going to be in any sort of WDC contention . I can see Bottas winning a race or two this year but I don't see that with Kimi . Kimi's performances have been borderline pathetic this year in my opinion James and i've supported Kimi since his McLaren days but I think its time the Iceman seriously considered stopping at the end of the season. I hope we get a miracle turnaround from Kimi but I think Kimi will cost Ferrari the WCC. I find it very sad seeing what Kimi has become-I just find myself shaking my head a lot during races . On Bottas needs to be more like Raikkonen at McLaren/Hakkinen rather than the Raikkonen of now if he is to be a winner

104

They should pay him off again and put someone young in as a development driver. Even at this point of the season.
I totally agree it's a clear merc/Ferrari race for wcc and wdc and as it stands kimi will single handedly cost Ferrari the wcc. So pay of his 10m and get someone with passion and drive in the car. Even try and nick grojean.
Kimi either cannot get on with this car or Ferrari are just testing stuff out on him. Test dummy style

105

Gorjean was just equal to Kimi, I think Perez or sainz is a better option than Gorjean. They might push Vettel more than Grojean

106

I agree. I actually didn't want Kimi to return to F1 after his WRC stint because I didn't believe he will be fast enough. I wanted to keep him in good memory after his 2007 title. Well, he proved me wrong with some really good drives during his Lotus days, but since he joined Ferrari again he is just not the same. I love Kimi but i think it's time for him to stop.

107

What's up with you? you're pretty much ranting about Kimi in every other thread on this website.....Kimi/Ferrari are mature enough to decide their relationship, ranting here won't make any difference to that.

108

Dude not a Kimi fan but his pace was respectable in the final stint. Give him a couple of more races before you give up on him. He wont be beating Vettel but he'll be putting in pretty decent performance once he gets the hang of that car.

109

I was surprised, though I guess not that surprised now that I think about it, they did instigate letting Hamilton through in Monaco last year. This year they've made it clear they won't even give a moment to letting team mates battle. I'm equally surprised Ferrari didn't order Kimi to let Seb through in the earlier race, which to me shows Ferrari are evolving, maybe under new management. They seem to be taking more risk, reassessing their strategies. They have been blasted in the media and by fans for decades about team orders, given what has happened now they should be receiving some praise at least.

I'm happy Mercedes are being exposed for what they truly are. As the runaway most dominant F1 team, probably of all time, all the nice smiles and perfection seem too be slowly fading. Bottas is a number 2 driver by the 3rd race. Tire pressure error, pit stop error, team orders. They might have to change that famous saying, "If you want to win, hire a Finn" that was touted about in F1. It's almost like Mercedes are slowly evolving to follow Ferrari principles from the past.

110

Suddenly,mechanical and operational problems matters when a teammate of Hamilton suffers, but never when Hamilton Hamilton is similarly disadvantaged.Your exasperation is solely because Hamilton has benefited. All your focus is on Hamilton not winning, rather than the Mercedes team itself winning, from which Hamilton benefits as a consequence.

111

"I'm happy Mercedes are being exposed for what they truly are."

As if there was ever any doubt.

112

3498, what they truly are is a racing team that will do everything they can to try and win races. That was never in doubt.

113

Cheesypoof. Mercedes are not the most dominant team, have you watched the races this season? There is no order that says Mercedes can't battle, if they had been running one two in Bahrain, they would heave been free to race each other, just as we saw Nico and Lewis race each other so many times before.

114

I think Bottas is a good driver, but not a talented one. I feel that if Verstappen, Alonso, Hamilton or Vettel would have been in Bottas' position, they would have won.

Don't get me wrong, with a plenty of practice, dedication and hard work, Bottas has the possibility to match up against Hamilton - just like Rosberg did. Nevertheless, with a sheer raw race pace, Bottas (or Rosberg) will never be able to match Lewis. The only way to beat Lewis is to be alert when he is having a bad day.

It still has to be noted that is very difficult for a driver like Bottas to suddenly step up to the big league where there are drivers who have been driving for years in the front.

115

Racing is so cruel - you can be tremendously talented like VB, but still pale in comparison to others:

Lewis almost won the WDC as a rookie against his team mate, the two-time & defending WDC, one of the most talented drivers of all time who beat the great Michael off his thrown, Fernando. No warming up time needed for him (understood that it was a new drive for Alonso too, but still...).

Max Verstappen changed seats mid-season and won his first race at 18, no warming up at all.

Vettel, perhaps the slowest to warm up of them all, got a seat in Toro Rosso as a rookie mid-season, and outscored his team mate who did the whole season; and still has the team's only win/podium/pole to date. Interestingly, only Vettel and Max V took Toro Rosso to finish 4 and above since 2007 (did not check before that)

116

I have been thinking this since race 1. That if Bot can be this close to Ham, then imagine what a great driver like Vet or especially Alo would do in the same car? I suspect Vet and Alo would blow right past Ham and leave him in the dust

117

Alo would blow right past Ham

I realise you are fishing but I'll bite anyway - what makes you say that? He didn't when they were paired before, why would he do so if they were paired for a second time?

118

“You’ll notice I dint use the tyres as an excuse. I said If it weren’t for the hungary penalty he would have been WDC .

It was Hamilton who disobeyed Team orders in qualification by not letting Alonso pass which led Alonso to retaliate and hold him in the pits. Ron Dennis dint have to publicly make a scene in front of the cameras. he could have handled his drivers in the debrief(Btw I am not blaming Hamilton or Alonso its just one of the those things that happen between two very competitive teammates ) If Ron had been calm and composed they would have got away with the penalty by convincing the stewards that Alonso held up Hamilton due to some miscommunication in the pits. If he started on pole or even if he hadn’t retaliated & started the race from 2nd & finished 2nd instead of 4th those 3 extra points would have let him win the 2007 WDC (he lost the WDC by 1 point & ifs and buts are part of every season. Kimi was the deserving champion).
As for your 2nd question. There are many factors but I think maybe his ego is the biggest reason
1)Renault was faster than Ferrari in 2006 mainly because of their Mass Dampner(MD) & how it worked relative to the Michellin compared to Ferrari’s MD & bridgestones tyres. So for 11 of the 18 races where the MD was raced Alonso had the edge & was winning more races than his rival. After the MD ban, and subsequent raise of Ferrari, Alonso had the audacity to claim that his Renault team were sabotaging him & dint want him to win his second world title because he would move to McLaren next season.
2) Then in 2008 he using the spying scandal to blackmail his team to back him as no 1.(Mercedes still hold it against him for the damage it caused its brand that year)
3 Finally his nonstop claim that Ferrari were only successful, winning races & fighting for the WDC because of him. Ferrari has always been gentle on its tyres since 2010 and has had better race pace than its competitors. What has held it back was always fighting from a low grid slot. In 2012 when Redbull & Mclaren were superior to Ferrari in qualification (Side note: Vettel finished nearly .5 seconds behind bottas in qualification in Bharain how did the race pan out???) Ferrari also had the best clutch/start system on the track in 2012 . This mix of better reliability, better race pace, lighting starts and a very consistent & competent driver proved to be very lethal combination that year. But Alonso took all the credit and took every opportunity to show the team failed him. So when they won races it was only because of him and when they lost races, it was only because of the car. Without anything from Alonso’s greatness or his skills. In 2009 when the average gap to pole of his Renault was 0.670. That year He retired in 3 races, had 0 poles, 1 podium, 0 races wins finished 9th in the standing while only scoring 27.36% of the WDC total points(Button). When in 2012 the average gap of the Ferrari to pole was 0.614. That year he had 2 retirements, 2 poles 10 podiums(excluding wins) 3 race wins & finished 2nd in the WDC while scoring 98.93% of the WDC winner’s points(Vettel). I mean compare 0.670 & 0.614 do you think that 0.056 is the reason for such a huge performance gap in 2009 & 2012??? I personally believe Ferrari got very little credit while Alonso was racing for them. In 2014 Ferrari still wanted him to commit to a longer contract. He dint want to be stuck in Ferrari because he was waiting for a seat to open up at Mercedes. Either way Vettel was vying to get into Ferrari since 2008, Alonso reluctance to sign on for long term along with Vettel’s own get out clause due to his under performance helped Ferrari sign Vettel . Even when Ferrari signed Vettel they dint confirm him immediately &(the following is my own personal opinion based on how it played out & how it was reported) I honestly feel Ferrari would have preferred an Alonso Vettel combination. They had reasons to dump Kimi because of his performance in 2014. Pairing Alonso & Vettel would have made more sense because Vettel himself had a miserable 2014 season. Alonso was a known quantity to them. If Vettel would underperform in 2015 they would still have Alonso. Alonso was not pleased by the signing of Kimi in 2014 which was intentionally done to undermine him. And you can only imagine what it might have felt for him to be told that they had signed Vettel. I think that was the last straw. He was not afraid of racing Vettel but hurt because Ferrari signed Vettel without taking him into confidence even thought had given them his best for the last 4 years

Finally when you have a winning combination you don’t try changing it. Both Alonso & Hamilton were trying to sign on to Redbull but Redbull stuck to their their own drivers because they were delivering . Hamilton & Rosberg were volatile together yet successful at winning both the championships for 3 straight years. Micheal Schumacher & Ferrari(He would have won in 2007 & 2008 if he hadn’t retired based on Kimi fared against Massa) My point is that its easy to say 20 drivers will achieve the same results in a dominant or better race car but reality is always very different looking at Bottas & Kimi’s performance in their cars relative to their teammates. Looking at Kimi one would say Ferrari is fighting Redbull more than Mercedes. Finally Hamilton any day is a much better person than Alonso. He may lack little bit in consistency but in outright pace he is slightly faster. So why replace him with Alonso????

119

You’ll notice I dint use the tyres as an excuse

Your first line was that he struggled to get the hang of the tyres ...
What's that if it wasn't an excuse?

120

Because Alonso struggled to get the hang of the Bridgestone tyres. Hamilton was a rookie and started his career on Bridgestone while Alonso raced mostly on Michellin and took time to get used to the way the tyres handled. Even with the Handicap he was able to match Hamilton and would have won the WDC if it werent hungary 2007 following which Ron Dennis & the team supporting Hamilton over Alonso.

In 2012 Mclaren were a slightly faster than Redbull & definitely faster than Ferrari even without his reliability issues Hamilton would have finished behind Alonso in the WDC.

If you need more proof here's what Hamilton had to say about Alonso joining him next year "It's not going to happen, Valtteri is fantastic here at the team. He was very, very fast at the last race, He has obviously got a lot of potential and a lot of growth to go, but it is all about finding the right balance in the team. So far Valtteri and I have a great balance and the scales weigh up nicely.
"If you have got two kilos on either side, and then take the two kilos off and put four on, what is the point? You need the balance"
Translation:- I can beat Bottas but I am not sure if I will be able to beat Alonso. And basically Hamilton is contradicting what Wolff has been openly saying i.e they will consider Alonso for the 2nd seat next year. You smell fear??? Cause i surely do. So much for him not being afraid of who his teammate is

121

In 2012 Mclaren were a slightly faster than Redbull & definitely faster than Ferrari even without his reliability issues Hamilton would have finished behind Alonso in the WDC.

Up above you talk about the 2012 Ferrari being the best on race pace. Yet here you continue with the 2012 McLaren was faster than the Red Bull. In qualifying, over the entire year, that might be true. You would only be looking at Hamilton's qualifying results, to get that though.

On race pace, Red Bull were clearly quicker, over the entire year, and that's what really matters. Add in the better reliability, and it's clear as day that the Red Bull was the best car in 2012. I agree that the Ferrari was a very good race day car, and coupled with great starts Alonso was able to be in the mix most days. Still doesn't make it anywhere equal to the Red Bull. It wasn't.

As for your translation, that is a leap, seeing as Hamilton beat Alonso in his rookie year! You're reading far too much into it. Again, up above you say that you don't upset a working driver pairing, whereas here you say that Hamilton fears Alonso. Hamilton doesn't fear Alonso ... despite Fernando saying he's still driving at his best, I would expect that he's lost a bit of speed and reaction in his driving. However, Hamilton does know what can happen when you have the two top drivers in a single team, as he experienced it in 2007. Mercedes also experienced it, so they (through Norbert Haug) would know exactly what went on that year, and I doubt they would want to see a repeat. For me Wolff is just putting that stuff ("We will look at all drivers") out there, but when it comes down to it, I would be very surprised if Alonso came to Mercedes. Only if Hamilton left would they go for Alonso.

122

Because Alonso struggled to get the hang of the Bridgestone tyres.....

Sounds like excuses to me. But never mind that - answer me this. If Alonso really is such great shakes then why do the top teams keep denying themselves the benefit of his driving talents? Why did McLaren and Ferrari let him walk and why don't Mercedes toss Hamilton aside and replace him with Alonso? If Alonso is as good as you say then why don't they do just that? Btw, to be clear I am not saying Alonso is no good, on the contrary I think he is very good indeed.

123
Martin O. Powell

I'm not sure if Formula One team bosses would agree with you mate.

124

Yeah, sure they would! lol
Vettel really blew by Raikkonen away last year (not)! And Button really held his own against Alonso!
Let me guess a Hamilton hater!

125

LOL!! Were you not around in 2007.!

126

It was tough on Valterri, but they gave him an opportunity to avoid the order, but he wasn't able to up his pace enough. He was the number two in Bahrain due to his poor pace relative to Lewis at that one race, there is no reason to believe that Merc are favouring Lewis in general. Valterri has plenty of opportunities to beat Lewis, and I don't doubt he will do that on occasion this season, but yesterday was not his day. All the drivers have bad races now and again, sometimes the balance just isn't there and they can't seem to get on top of the car. This will happen to Lewis this year, just as it happens to all of them at some point. It is important not to damage the team result because one car is struggling, if the situation had been reversed, the team would have done the exact same thing.
The orders were given because Mercedes were trying to win the race, this wasn't about giving one of their drivers a better chance of the championship, it was just them trying to get a single race victory. The other examples of a team running one two, and then switching their drivers for contractual reasons are not comparable. If Seb hadn't been ahead of both Mercs in Bahrain, there is no way Merc would have given the order.

127

Exactly! The same thing happened to Rosberg in Monaco when he was slow!

128

" It is important not to damage the team result because one car is struggling"

Good. Why hasn't Hamilton made a clean pass if he had superior pace (like Vettel in China)?

129

And why didn't Vettel overtake Bottas when he had superior pace .Why should the team needlessly make things difficult for itself just to please your Hamilton dislike. Is it not a team sport.

130

3498. Because that would have taken too much time. It would have made an already slim chance of catching Vettel vanish completely.

131

Because it's a lot easier to do than staying behind a car and damaging your tires with turbulent air! Take off your rose colored glasses!

132

Give it a rest dude. Like i said before the first team order wasnt justified as they both were fighting for positions while the 2nd time it was.

133

Aaron. The first order was about not letting Vettel get away, the team told Valterri that he had to stay with him or let Lewis have a go, he couldn't manage that so had to move over.

134

True up to a point. I just don't agree that had the situation been reversed, Merc would've issued such an order; even if they had, I simply believe that Hamilton would've ignored it: past circumstance certainly suggests that would've been the outcome

135

Rafa. No reason to believe that they wouldn't tell Lewis to move over, it just has never come up before that he was significantly slower than his team mate. If you are referring to Hungary 14, then he wasn't slower than Nico, and Nico was never close enough. Lewis didn't refuse to let him by, he just refused to trash his own race in the process.

136

1) Hungary 2007 Hamilton ignored McLaren team instructions by not allowing duble world champion Fernando Alonso to get by at the start of the final 15-minute qualifying session on Saturday & started the whole retaliation by Alonso
2) Dude dont have a selective bias. If Bottas had maintained his position and held up hamilton he would have finished in P2. There was no gurantee that Hamilton would catch and overtake Vettel. Thus ceeding to hamilton would trash his own race in the process(your own argument). Hamiton needed team orders to overtake Bottas as he couldnt do it by himself. Bottas could have kept Hamilton behind him.(If he couldnt there would be no need for the teaming coming on the radio and asking him to move aside) Similarly Rosberg was faster than Hamilton in Hungary 14 and could fight for Victory but he couldnt get past his teammate because he wouldnt let him.

Lap 47 Peter Bonnington to Lewis Hamilton "OK Lewis. Gap to Nico one second. He’s on the [soft] tyre. He has one more stop, so don’t hold him up."
Lap 48 Lewis Hamilton to Peter Bonnington "I can’t imagine these tyres lasting another 20 laps."
Lap 48 Peter Bonnington to Lewis Hamilton "So the softs did an equivalent of 24 laps – albeit from damp conditions – so wear shouldn’t be an issue."
Lap 48 Peter Bonnington to Lewis Hamilton "So there’s free track behind Nico. You don’t need to use the tyres up defending against Nico."
Lap 51 Nico Rosberg to Tony Ross "Why is he not letting me through?"
Lap 51 Peter Bonnington to Lewis Hamilton OK Lewis, "if you let Nico past this lap, please. Let Nico past on the main start/finish straight."
Lap 51 Lewis Hamilton to Peter Bonnington "I’m not slowing down for Nico. If he can get close and overtake, then he can overtake"
Lap 51 Peter Bonnington to Lewis Hamilton "So stay in torque mode zero, Lewis. And if you can let Nico past into this braking area"
Lap 52 Nico Rosberg to Tony Ross "Why is he not letting me through?"
Lap 52 Tony Ross to Nico Rosberg "He’s had the message, Nico. He’s had the message"

137

Nice post. You'd have to be daff not to clearly see that Hamiltons actions were a direct refusal to obey the requests of the team.

138

Sarsippious, so glad you are back, "if he gets close enough to overtake, then he can overtake", isn't a refusal. We don't know what Lewis' actions would have been if Nico had got close enough, because he didn't.

139

Let Nico past on the main start/finish straight."

He didn't and thus refused a direct team order and not for the first or last time.
Honestly, please don't constantly refer to other posters here, as you frequently do, as biased and blind haters when you yourself cannot show the same 'unbiased' views yourself. Its so old and a blight on this wonderful sight.

And I didn't realise you'd miss me so much Tim. I'll be sure to have shorter holidays at Easter in the future so you don't suffer any further separation anxiety.

140

Sars. If Nico had got close enough, he would have let him by, but he didn't. There really is no way around it, Lewis attached reasonable conditions, but didn't refuse.

141

SARS, and if Nico had been close enough, then he would have let him through on the start finish straight, but he wasn't so he didn't.

142

Aaron, are you seriously suggesting that Valterri would have kept Lewis behind? No chance of that happening, Lewis was massively faster and would have got passed anyway. The reason for the team order was to maintain the slim possibility of Lewis catching Seb, if Bottas had held him up even for a short time, then the chance of victory was lost. Lewis was well over a second per lap faster than Bottas, no chance of defending that pace difference in Bahrain.
Thanks for pasting the radio transcript from Hungary 14, could you help me out and point out the bit where Lewis refuses to let Nico by? I can see the bit where he says that he would if Nico got closer, but I can't see a refusal. Some examples of what a refusal to obey a team order looks like include Max Verstappen being asked to let Sainz by when they were at Torro Rosso, and replying with a rather unequivocal "No" and Sebastian Vettel telling the Red Bull team "tough luck" when they asked him to let his then team mate Daniel Ricciardo pass.

143

1) Lewis overtook a struggling Riccairdo who was also mugged by other drivers because he was struggling with his soft tyres . Lewis spent 15 laps behind Bottas but he couldnt overtake him in those 15 laps no matter how hard he tried(even with his MASSIVELY FASTER PACE(your own words) . SO YES definitely Bottas would have kept Lewis behind the race. Lewis wouldn’t risk a move that had the potential to take both of them out
2) Look at Bottas race curve in the picture & compare it with Vettel's & Hamilton's before & after he is overtaken. Which clearly suggest he changed his pace or had car issues immediately after being passed by his teammate. If he had car trouble or tyre issues other than the first stint it would have been mentioned after the race . He had no reason to stress the PU once he let Hamilton past him as He was not fighting anyone & Kimi was still far behind. So he turned down his PU(just as Hamilton did in Australia), Lewis was the only guy pushing trying to catch Vettel. Both Vettel & Bottas were cruising . This isn’t my assertion it shows in the lap charts
3) “Rosberg did heed the order to hold station in Malaysia 2013, but only after repeated radio calls from Ross Brawn ordering him to heed the order rather than ignoring it”
In both cases the drivers tried arguing their case/reasoning but the bottom line is that only one listened while the other dint So that twice in 2007 Hungary & 2014 Hungary Hamilton defied order. Rosberg was within a second of Hamilton and a whole second faster than him before pitting, after pitting he was 2 seconds faster than him, that’s the only reason Mercedes asked Hamilton to move aside . Your other excuses like Rosberg starting from pole or Rosberg being stuck behind Verne is like me saying saying Hamilton started 2nd in Bharain but was stuck behind Vettel in the first stint(totally irrelevant in both cases) The team order is a team order. Where a driver starts or behind whom he is stuck is irrelevant. As for why Rosberg suffered in that race is because the safety car came out after Rosberg Bottas, Vettel and Alonso had passed the pit lane. So everyone else behind them Benefitted. If not for that he would not have been stuck behind Verne(wasn’t Hamtilon stuck behind a very slow max on old tyres in Australia???? Sometimes you get stuck behind a slower car its how the sports is). Rosberg was the faster driver that day (compared to Hamilton) mainly because of his fresher tyres compared to Hamilton’s(but he was still faster). His fastest lap was 1.6 seconds faster than Hamilton & the team orders were issued because he needed to pit again so he would have anyway come out behind Hamilton again. What PR they did after the race is also irrelevant as Hamilton was their no 1 driver(he still is) they needed to keep him happy. Our topic is strictly defying team order of which Lewis is guilty. All your points/excuses about starting position etc are irrelevant because the team wont issue orders unless it has a very good reason to do so, especially towards its no 1 driver.. You don’t see me saying Hamilton was stuck behind Alonso in the same race which is why they asked him to let Rosberg through. Finally its more difficult to overtake your teammate than other cars because you’ll find similar cars have similar strengths & weaknesses. Hence even though Rosberg was Massively faster than Hamilton in Hungary he couldn’t overtake him just like in Bharain(where Hamilton was Massively faster but stuck behind Bottas for 15 laps)I cant help but be amazed at how your definition of being Massively faster or obeying team orders keeps changing every time. If I asked you to do something and you don’t do it, its called disobeying you can sugar coat it and call it something else.

“1)The other rather obvious difference between 2014 and 2017 is three years ago the championship was always going to be between the two Merc drivers, asking a driver to help his only championship rival is expecting a lot, and in no way similar to the situation in Bahrain.”
No but it’s similar to the situation in Monaco last year where Hamilton was Robergs championship rival yet Rosberg let him pass. If Rosberg was 2 seconds slower, than Hamilton should have been able to breeze past him right? But he couldn’t, just as he couldn’t breeze past Bottas for 15 laps in Bharain. IF Rosberg was 2 seconds slower in Monaco but had to let Hamilton pass mainly because Hamilton could win for the team(even thought both of them were only fighting each other for the WDC)then how is it different from Hamilton holding Rosberg who was 2 seconds faster yet stuck behind his teammate in Hungary?. Rosberg too had a shot at winning the race for the team.(if not the team wouldn’t have asked Hamilton to let him past) Isnt your own logic flawed or biased toward Hamilton???

144

Anon, again point by point, but this time with data.
1, Lewis overtook Ricciardo and pulled away at a rate of around a second a lap. The actual numbers for how much faster he was are, lap 18 1.094, lap 19 1.209, lap 20 0.993. Remember those numbers as we will be referring to them later. Lewis was not behind Valterri for 15 laps, he was behind Vettel. When Seb pitted on lap 10 Lewis was 1.557 behind Bottas, this gap fell to 0.773 on lap 11 and again to 0.653 on lap 12 when the safety car came out and they both pitted. So 2 laps behind Valterri, not 15 and he was significantly quicker when released. You simply cannot say that Bottas would have kept Lewis behind in the final stint, or the first stint either if the safety car hadn't come into play.

2,Valterri's pace drops off after he is passed by Lewis, but why was it slow before that? If he could have put in some decent lap times at this stage he would have finished ahead of Lewis in second place, why wouldn't he want to do that? Lewis came out of the pits on lap 43 and got by his team mate on lap 47, his pace advantage over Valterri in these four laps was 1.412, 1.952, 1.899 and 1.845 seconds. Remember that pace advantage over DR from earlier? he was around a second faster than Dan and overtook, he was around two seconds faster than Valterri, but you think he wouldn't have got by? Doesn't add up does it? Valterri did speak about the reasons for his lack of pace after the race, he said he was struggling with the tyres, if he turned his engine down after Lewis had got by, that makes sense, but why do it before?
3, Lewis and Nico came together on lap 46 of the Hungarian GP, Lewis came out of the pits ahead on lap 41. Nico's laps in clean air prior to this were 88.708, 89.39 and 87.516 seconds. Lewis' first lap out of the pits was a 87.44s, Nico did then start to catch Lewis but he did this at a rate of 0.239, 0.554, 0.653 and 0.655s. This is not a second a lap faster as you claim. The two Mercs then ran together between laps 46 and lap 51 when Lewis starts to pull away, he is faster over the next three laps and then Nico pits. The problem with claiming Nico would have won is that Alonso was running a couple of seconds ahead of Lewis and was also not going to stop again, while Nico had to. Rosberg would have had to overtake Fernando on track, and then pull out a full pit stop on him, or overtake him on track again. Nico would also have had to overtake Ricciardo on track to get the victory. No chance of that happening. Nico of course was faster on the fresh tyres after his final stop, but he was never going to make up the time lost in the pits, and make those on track overtakes.
We keep coming down to what counts as a refusal and what doesn't, in Hungary if Lewis had said "no I'm not letting him by, you would have a point, but he didn't say that, he said "If he gets close enough to overtake, then he can overtake" Nico was never close enough, for the majority of those laps he wasn't even in DRS range, there was no attempt made by Nico to go up the inside of Lewis into turn one, and he never looked like he had the pace to get away from him even if he did, let alone overtake Alonso! Getting by Lewis was in his hands, he could and should have forced the issue, but he wasn't able to do that.
Monaco last year, Lewis was 2 seconds quicker, but that is Monaco, the hardest track to overtake on in the calendar, you can defend 2 seconds around there, but not at Bahrain. As I said before Lewis was never stuck behind Bottas for 15 laps in Bahrain, you seem to be confused on this issue. Nobody is suggesting that Lewis was 2 seconds faster in the first stint in Bahrain, but the numbers show that he was in the final stint. Rosberg had no choice but to let Lewis through in Monaco, he was so slow it would have been ridiculous to argue the point, in Hungary 2014 Nico was not 2 seconds quicker than Lewis leading up to the point they came together, not even a second quicker crucial differences.
some links for you.
http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2014/07/27/2014-hungarian-grand-prix-lap-times-fastest-laps/" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2014/07/27/2014-hungarian-grand-prix-lap-times-fastest-laps/
http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2014/07/27/2014-hungarian-grand-prix-lap-times-fastest-laps/" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2014/07/27/2014-hungarian-grand-prix-lap-times-fastest-laps/

145

Riccairdo ”After the safety car we put the soft on & that tyre was just not happening for us today, & at the restart out of the last corner it felt like the tyre was never switched on as we say, struggling to get just the restart so lewis got me & then out of turn two I was…, so basically the whole first lap(after the safety car) I was slidding & that’s why I went back” Lap 17 Vettel 1:35.2, Bottas 1:35.9, Hamilton 1:35.8, Riccairdo 1:39.064 Kimi 1:37.139 Massa 1:36.840 (Riccairdo was 3 seconds slower than Hamilton, Bottas & Vettel. and offered no resistance to Hamilton Massa & Kimi on the same lap. Clearly something was wrong with his tyres as massa driving an inferior Williams overtook him with ease.
Hamilton himself admitting after the race ”I just wish that with these cars we could follow closer so we could have done more”(follow closer? Done more?? Clearly referring to overtaking right so what was he referring to in that comment??? Hamiton was stuck behind vettel for 9 laps but couldn’t overtake because of the DRS train i.e Bottas-Vettel-Hamilton. In a DRS train only the 2nd guy has an opportunity to make a move stick unless you do something like what Vettel did in China & make a move in a section that has no DRS activation zone. Which was not possible as in the middle section of the track the Ferrari was stronger than the Mercedes. Hence Hamiltons comments were directed more towards him being stuck behind Bottas. He was stuck behind Bottas for 14 laps( lap 10 to lap 13(4 laps) & Lap 17 to lap 26 (10 laps). Vettel broke the DRS immediately the safety car came in and ran off in the distance. Bottas should have been easy picking for Hamilton. Yet Hamilton spent 10 laps in Bottas DRS range struggling to overtake him until the team asked Bottas to let him go. Hamilton isn’t a driver who will sit behind his teammate for 10 laps and watches his victory chances dwindle in the distance along with Vettel. The fact he couldn’t overtake Bottas until the team asked Bottas specifically to let Hamilton pass, along with Hamilton’s own admission after the race clearly proves Bottas could keep Hamilton behind him as long as he wanted . Hamilton too wouldn’t risk any moves that might lead to a crash knowing fairly well that if they crashed, Vettel would lead Hamilton in the WDC by 25 points. By finishing 3rd Hamilton would only lose 10 points compared to 25 for a non finish.

There is no denying that Hamilton held an advantage over Bottas in Bharain but it was exaggerated by
Bottas having the wrong tyre pressure in the first stint,& being on the the wrong tyre in the 2nd stint. He was faster than Hamilton in the 3rd stint(because of his fresher tyres and then was just cruising once Hamilton went past. Now its common sense when you are not racing someone you turn your power down to conserve your engine especially in a season where you are restricted to 4 PU. Lewis himself turned his engine down in Australia to save it in the process Bottas caught up to him(Based on that we’ll assume bottas was faster than lewis in Australia?? Vettel too had turned his engine down in Bharain
Bottas average lap times for 15 Laps before Hamilton overtakes him 1:34.714 1:34.087 1:34.391 1:34.736 1:35.194 1:34.399 1:34.875 1:34.973 1:34.647 1:34.526 1:34.681 1:34.374 1:34.839 1:34.821 1:34.643 i.e pretty consistent mid 1:34. Bottas Lap time immediately after Hamilton goes by 1:36.627 1:35.456 1:34.708 1:35.122 1:34.909 1:35.025 1:35.987 1:34.875 1:35.155 1:35.096 1:35.159 i.e after Hamilton overtakes him his pace immediately drops signifying he is now cruising.(notice he could still touch high 1:34 if he wanted)

Coming back to Hungary Sorry I stand corrected. I have the timing achieves but was too lazy to actually investigate so I read a column I think it was on skyf1 site & misread the gaps.
Here are the actual times and gaps between them.
Lap 40 Hamilton out lap. Rosberg 1:27.516(8 laps older tyres) Gap (+2.9)
41 Hamilton 1:27.414 Rosberg 1:27.673 (+3.198) Hamilton 0.259 faster
42 Hamilton 1.27.600 Rosberg 1:27.361 (+2.959) Rosberg 0.239 faster
43 Hamilton 1:28.123 Rosberg 1:27.569 (+2.405) Rosberg 0.554 faster
44 Hamilton 1:28.463 Rosberg 1:27:810 (+1.752) Rosberg 0.653 faster
45 Hamilton 1:28.424 Rosberg 1:27.764 (+1.092) Rosberg 0.660 faster
Clearly on 8 Laps fresher tyres Hamilton is still slower than Rosberg at this phase of the race(oddly you wanted Bottas to move out of the way for Hamilton in Bharain for a similar reason right??? Hamilton pace isn’t hindered by any car in front of him at that stage. In 5 laps his relative pace to rosberg is already 6/10 down. Based on this info Rosberg was their best bet even if he had to pit again. Rosberg would have to overtake 2 cars on track if Hamilton hadn’t held him back i.e Alonso & Riccairdo. He needed to get in front of Hamilton because Kimi was within his pit window. Hamilton cost him at least 3 to 5 seconds over the next 10 laps. This caused him to come out behind Kimi. Contrary to what you say Hamilton doesn’t pull away from Rosberg but rather Rosberg is managing the gap to cool his engine & brakes & saving his tyres. His tyres were older than Hamiltons and they had not decided if he would be stopping again or running until the end.
When they pit Rosberg on lap 56 as predicted he gets stuck behind Kimi for 3 laps. Kimi is doing high 1.29 while Rosberg could do low 1.26 because of his fresher tyres. He lost 8 to 9 seconds behind Kimi
Lap 61 Hamilton 1:28.452 Rosberg 1:26.083(+22.522) Rosberg 2.369 faster
Lap 62 Hamilton 1:28.717 Rosberg 1:26.766 (+20.571) Rosberg 1.951 faster
Lap 63 Hamilton 1.28.481 Rosberg 1:26.019 (+18.109) Rosberg 2.262 faster
Lap 64 Hamilton 1:29.203 Rosberg 1:25.724 (+14.630) Rosberg 3.479 faster
Lap 65 Hamilton 1:29.167 Rosberg 1:26.631 (+12.094) Rosberg 2.536 faster
Lap 66 Hamilton 1:29.211 Rosberg 1:25:823 ( +8.706) Rosberg 3.388 faster
Lap 67 Hamilton 1:29.708 Rosberg 1:26.066 (+5.064) Rosberg 3.642 faster
Lap 68 Hamilton 1:30.289 Rosberg 1:26.730 (+1.505) Rosberg 3.559 faster
Lap 69 Hamilton 1:29.315 Rosberg 1:28.384 (+0.574) Right on his tail again clearly the faster driver to be able to pit and yet make up the gap in 10 laps

Part of the reason Hamilton was 1 second slower at the end of the race was that he spent 8 laps within a second of Alonso but he couldn’t pass him. Hungary is notorious for overtaking just like Monaco Driving similar cars, Hamilton know where to use the overtake button as a defensive ploy to keep Rosberg behind him. Look at the gaps between Alonso & Hamilton for 8 laps(0.812 0.733 0.510 0.582 0.557 0.636 0.429) If Hamilton driving that Mercedes against the Ferrari that was lacking both on the engine front and the aero front could not overtake Alonso who was slower both in corner & in the straights. Rosberg stood no chance against Hamilton unless he tried a kamikaze move that might have taken both of them off. Again I know what you’ll say. What the point of letting Rosberg attack Alonso if Hamilton couldn’t do it. Again the difference Is fresher tyres and team mates. Alonso isn’t in the same team as Rosberg. Attacking Alonso or crashing into him while trying to overtake him wouldn’t get Rosberg into any trouble with the team.

Based on the above laptimes any one can ask the same question to you too i.e Why was Lewis so slow after taking on fresh tyres in his last stint in Hungary? He definitely cost the team a Victory. He is clearly the slower driver in the final stint. If you or for that matter Mercedes could believe Lewis had a shot of winning Bahrain by overtaking Vettel on track with the help of team orders. Why were they wrong in assuming the same with Rosberg in Hungary. Their data clearly showed them they had a shot and that’s the only reason they issued team orders. Rosberg on fresher tyres was on an average 2.898 seconds faster than Hamilton over the 8 laps after he cleared Kimi. That’s much more than what Hamilton was over Bottas in Bharain. Just like Rosberg in Hungary Hamilton too was on fresher tyres in Bharain.
If Rosberg failed to win the race they could have asked him to return the position back to Hamilton. As for teamorders OK "if you let Nico past this lap, please. Let Nico past on the main start/finish straight." "So stay in torque mode zero, Lewis. And if you can let Nico past into this braking area" Sounds like clear team orders to me. Orders aren’t negotiable "I’m not slowing down for Nico. If he can get close and overtake, then he can overtake" That is definitely a no. Unless you are in high school I have no reason for you not to understand the subtleties in his reply which clearly meant a NO. You don’t reply to a command or an order with a condition. You obey it or disobey it.

Now no matter how much you are trying to hide it there is a clear bias in your views towards Hamilton and I don’t see why not. You are his fan I understand your sentiments. I think most of all this will anyway get cleared once Nico releases his book. Like I said before not all messages are broadcasted I am sure once Lewis disobeyed the order Wolf or Paddy were on the radio with him just like the final race last year. Until then lets patiently wait.

146

Aaron, a few points. Lewis wasn't stuck behind Valterri on lap 10, Seb had only just released him by pitting and he was 1.55 seconds behind, he halved that deficit on lap 11 and was 0.6 behind him on lap 11, then they both pitted on lap 12. This is one lap when he was close enough to challenge, the others he was catching him. Lewis' pace advantage over Valterri at this stage of the race was not as large as it was at the end. After the first stop Valterri's initial pace was good, he was on the faster tyre and was quicker than Lewis on many of those early laps after the sc, it wasn't until the stint wore on that he started to struggle. Valterri's problem wasn't a lack of pace, he was struggling to maintain that pace over a stint length. There was no point Lewis having a go while the radio conversations where going on, Bottas was given an opportunity to pick uo his pace, but he was unable to. Again Lewis' pace advantage at this stage of the race was not as large as it was later, once released he pulled away at around a second per lap and then was right at the end of Valterri's stint when his supersofts were well worn. The only time Lewis was two seconds a lap quicker was at the end of the race, I still do not think there is any way Valterri could have defended this pace advantage. Overtaking is difficult, but not impossible, I have never seen one car close another down like that at an open circuit and not get past. Your list of Valterri's lap times is irrelevent, the point is at that stage of the race Lewis was much faster, in my view fast enough to overtake, you don't agree but neither of us know for sure. You say Valterri turned his engine down, did he say this? He certainly said he was struggling with the tyres, his pace tailing off towards the end of the stint would appear to confirm this.
Back to Hungary, Rosberg was faster at that stage, but not by so much that a team order was justified. 6 tenths is not a second, and isn't two seconds. remember lewis was on the medium tyre and Rosberg on the soft, so that pace difference between them arguably should have been greater. The decision to stop Nico again had already been made when they bolted those soft tyres on at his second stop, there is no way those tyres would have made it to the end, as you say he pitted eight laps before Lewis, and Lewis only just made it to the end on mediums, doing eight laps more on the softs was impossible. The likely outcome if Nico had got by Lewis was he would have lost the same amount of time sitting behind Alonso with the same result of coming out behind Kimi. You can't say that Nico was managing the gap at the end of the stint when Lewis started pulling away, you do not know this. It looks more likely those soft tyres were finished, hence the imminent pit stop. You still haven't yet come up with any believable scenario for Nico winning that race, as you say he struggled to get by Kimi, and yet you really think he could have overtaken Alonso twice? No chance, this from the same guy who couldn't get by Vergne! Ricciardo was even further out of reach.
Lewis was slower than Rosberg in the last stint because he was on the slower tyre and they were much older than Nico's, this was a strategy error from Mercedes caused by them mistakenly thinking Alonso would stop again. No mystery surrounding Lewis' lack of pace at that stage of the race, he was going as fast as those very worn medium tyres would allow.
"If he gets close enough to overtake, then he can overtake" is clealry not a no! If he meant no, he would have said no, what he said was that he would let Nico through if he got closer. Again you are making assumptions and stating them as facts when they clearly are not. All radio transcripts were released in 2014, they were available in full from the FIA, again you are assuming there were other radio messages, but this is not the case.

147

Should Lewis have given the place back to Valtteri when he knew he couldn't win the race?

148

J singh, Lewis' car would probably have overheated having to wait that long.....

149
Martin O. Powell

And wait for 14 seconds for Bottas to catch up, your joking, right?

150

What's the point? Bottas was 20 seconds behind by the end of the race!

151

Sure thing!
If only Bottas was close to Hamilton - please remember that at the end of the race Bottas was more than 13 seconds behind Hamilton and was loosing ground to Raikkonen (in fact he had less than 2 sec advantage!).
Switching them at that point would have ment taking a huge unnecessary risk for Mercedes.

152

no. he was so much faster than Bot he would have passed him at some point during the final 15 laps

153

Hahaha - dream on - on track Hamilton is no gentlemen like Mika Hakkinen!
And now when we are at it, Bottas is no Coulthard. ;o)

154

Cyber. You think Mina would have given DC the place back?! No chance.

155

No, because he was catching Valtteri at 2 seconds a lap. It's not like they issued the order after Lewis was stuck behind him for several laps.

156
Torchwood Mobile

Yes, if Bottas had been close enough, eg. how far Max was behind Grosjean in China when calling for blue flags.

But the chequered flag waver had time to think about what he was having for tea, between waving Lewis past, and Valterri eventually turning up.

157

My thoughts exactly - it would have made no difference for the Constructor's Championship. And on the whole, Lewis' mistakes on Sat and Sun (as admitted by him) were more than Valterris (high tire pressures on the grid, a slow wheel gun, are not Valterris fault). I would have thought they told both of them (after Lewis' second stop), "Lewis has the better chance of challenging for the victory, so let him by, but if he can't (based on how far back he is by some pre-determined and agreed upon lap), we'll swap you guys back". That would have saved Valterri some soul-searching and Monday morning anguish.

Looking forward to him bouncing back in Russia!

158

Rohan. Valterri had the right tyre pressures for the second and third stints, and the wheel gun problem affected both of them at the stop.

159

thats what i thought too. if they ordered VB to let Lewis through based on the "he can win this race" assumption, then if he couldn't overtake Seb and challenge for the win, team should have told Lewis to give the place back. However in this instance Lewis was clearly faster than VB and would have overtaken him anyway so i dont see the point in executing team orders like they did and demoralizing VB.

160

I did think about that, if Bottas had tailed him all the way to the end I would argue yes but Hamilton was so much faster it was reasonable to expect that he would have overtaken Bottas at some point anyway IMO.

161

Good one!

162

That was in my mind too. Merc would have won the same points and they would have elegantly avoided hurting VB's feelings. It is important Valteri to accept the status two driver by himself, not being pushed down his throat by team orders. The question is if Bottas future has been already damaged, getting back on your feet may be a task impossible to surmount.

163

Alan, you don't think the sight of Lewis pulling over and waiting for his team mate for well over ten seconds would have been humiliating for Valterri? Lewis earned that position by being so much quicker, you think Bottas could have defended a car so much quicker till the end of the race?

164

No question LH is faster than VB until is proved otherwise in the future. However, I am not sure the same Bottas was in the car after being ordered twice to get aside. His mind and heart were shot for sure after the orders, so he temporarily lost the passion to race, 3rd place was his anyways. Having this said, I do believe Lewis would have got respect from all people across F1 if he was magnanimous with Valteri for this race only.

165

Apart from the 5 sec penalty Mercedces could have avoided having to rely on team orders by pitting Lewis soon after Bottas as he was ahead of him at that stage. Lewis was never going to the end on the softs and they lost valuable time to Vettel by delaying that final stop. The other problem Merc has suffered form is this idea that the leading driver makes a call on when to pit. Surely their simulator can tell them that the driver behind is loosing time i.e Bottas was not only holding Vettel but Lewis in the first stint. They could have under cut car 77 but then this is Merces they use one strategist but let the driver ahead make the call, it doesn't make sense. What are your thoughts on this James.

166

problem Merc has suffered form is this idea that the leading driver makes a call on when to pit

That worked pretty well in the past, when Merc were sure of a one/two.But now they are in a fight with another team I reckon that idea has to go out the window, and the decision has to be made on whatever presents the best chance overall.

167

Bottas has done well over a single lap and Hamilton was being gracious when he didn't mention his mistake in his final lap when he would probably have taken pole anyway without that.

As the slower race car Mercedes can't afford to waste time in the races as they could in the past. Instead of an outright number 1 and 2 perhaps they should decide that whoever has the best long run pace in practice should get the preferential race strategies. If they want a chance at beating Ferrari then they can't afford to waste even 1 lap with their faster car tucked up behind the slower one.

168

"and Hamilton was being gracious when he didn't mention his mistake"

I think you got this half right. Gracious would be to bring up the mistake and then congratulate teammate for not making any.

169
Martin O. Powell

Sir you didn't mention the part when Hamilton said 'Bottas did the better job'!

170

Ha ha ha,and you would be here accusing him of making excuses and being ungracious. In fact that is what you are doing here . ' Valterri did a better job '. I am sure you heard it.

171

bottas got simply in the way from turn one. mercedes knew his tyre pressures weren't right before the race got underway so they should've asked him to move over after the first lap if they were interested in winning that race....
the longer they keep this going, the more they'll fall behind..

172

They should have allowed Lewis to pass Bottas the moment Vettel peeled off to the pit, IMO. With all the data available even at that point, Mercedes strategy team appear to be too slow in reacting to Ferrari''s aggressive strategies. Two times in a row now.

173

After the first lap ????! Yeah right -- bottas - let vettel and Hamilton pass and drop from first to third and be under thread from max and ric ! !
Really !

174

mercedes lost the race in melbourne being stuck behind verstappen and last another in bahrain being stiluck behind bottas.
it's understandable being stuck behind a car you have no control of but very stupid to be stuck behind your own car..

175

yes, after the first lap,
they finished 2nd and 3rd, didn't they?
that would've given them a better chance of winning that race..

176

So he should have moved over to let a Ferrari past?

177

yes.
did vettel not let hamilton passed and got him later?

178

Vettel lost the chance to battle Hamilton in China as he was bottled behind Kimi, and Hamilton lost the chance today as he was bottled behind Bottas twice (Lap 10 to Lap 13 when Vettel pitted to the Safety Car when he was much faster than Bottas on over-pressured tyres and Lap 17 to 27).

Since this is lining up to be a close title fight, does it make sense for Mercedes to back Hamilton and Ferrari to back Vettel from here on. Would be great if , James, you share your views in the strategy report.

179

From the moment Vettel took the lead it was clear he will win. The team orders were implied to give Hamilton 3 extra points for the Championship (same thing happened in 2002 Austria, Todt: 'let Michael pass for the Championship').

180

Oh, not the same situation at all. Ferrari were running ond two that day, and under no threat from behind. In Bahrain Merc were running second and third and did what they had to do to give themselves any chance of winning the race. If Valterri had been leading, there is no way that order would have been given.

181

Massively faster is an exaggeration. Lewis was massively faster because Bottas had the wrong tyre pressure, intentionally or not is up for debate. I dont subscribe to conspiracy theory so i believe Mercedes version, Bottas was then put on the slower tyre in the 2nd stint(not intentionally, Mercedes had no idea it wouldnt work they were correctly covering Vettel with their lead driver i.e Bottas in the race).

Its pretty obvious once Lewis passed him the 2nd time he turned his engine down and was just cruising(look at his lap charts). At then end of the season when penalties come into play Bottas and other drivers who havent stressed their PU as much will suddenly seem to be in a better position than both Lewis and Vettel who seem to be pushing their PU' to the extreme in their quest to beat each other.

As for disobeying team orders. Lewis knew he woudnt be able to pass Bottas he needed his team to step in(he couldnt overtake a much slower Max on worn tires in Australia so no chance he would breeze past Bottas driving the same car(again not a statement on Hamilton's overtaking skills but the way the new aero regulations have made overtaking extremely difficult unless you try a high risk maneuver.)

As for Rosberg he did heed team order in 2013(Malaysia) 2016(Monaco even though he could have kept Lewis back in the entire race in monaco as he did in 2013) Once the team asks you to move aside you move aside if you dont you are effectively breaking team orders so dont make excuses or deflect the attention to Vettel because the topic right now is Hamilton not Vettel. As for Vettel, He was wrong in ignoring team orders and not letting Riccairdo past. I can understand his resistance to hold position in Malaysia 2013 against Webber but he had no excuse to hold Riccairdo back in 2014.

Rosberg was graceful enough in 2013 Malaysia & 2014 Hungary(he was the faster car yet he held station because Ross Brawn asked him to in 2013 & Hamilton defied team orders) And again in 2016 Monaco even though he was one of the slowest front runner car he could have kept Hamilton behind him. But he accepted the teams contention and fell in line. Alonso, Vettel & Hamilton are SOB's(not literally but in the sense that they are so obsessed with winning races and the WDC that they dont give a F***. This is why they will all end up in the record books as all time greats(BTW all of them are in the record books.). Anyway your need to keep protecting Hamilton for defying team orders is beyond me. I like it that he is selfish because it proves intent and proves his spirit for not accepting anything but the best. I was glad he did it in 2007(Mainly because i dint like Alonso. Even though I dont like Alonso but I cant take away the fact that Alonso is one of the best pound for pound racing driver in history, if there is indeed such a term for race drivers)

Now you justify Bottas getting out of the way to let the team achieve a better result with Hamilton while at the same time you tend to keep making excuses on why Hamilton was right to ignore team orders which cost the team a chance at a win in earlier race, dude seriously it makes no sense. As much as we the arm chair expects claim to know, the teams rely on data for their decision and they would have not asked Hamilton to get out of the way unless they believed Rosberg could have won that race or achieved a better result than Hamilton. Finally if you believe Hamilton after being let by his teammate could overtake Vettel and win in Bharain there is no reason for Mercedes not to believe that Rosberg could have won in Hungary once hamilton let him past in 2014. Mercedes were right the 2nd time to ask Bottas move but not the first time as they both were fighting for the same tarmac. Vettel position once he had P1 was never in threat(In retrospect even Hamilton if he was in P1 wouldnt have been in any threat unless they put him on the slower SS in the 2nd stint). If both Vettel & Hamilton struggled to overtake a struggling Bottas in the first stint, Do you really think Hamilton would have been able to overtake Vettel even without his penalty???. Vettel was smart enough to save his tyres in case there was a late safety car and in all honesty he was just cruising at the end of the race practicing his Italian thank you speech.

Finally I just keep my fingers crossed that both Hamilton and Vettel keep the championship race very tight until the very last race so that all of us are on the edge of our seats and Redbull sort out its issues so that they also get in between both Ferrari and Mercedes and make the races even more exciting. Hopefully neither Vettel nor Hamilton has any reliability issue this year. Cheers Man nice talking to you 🙂

182

Aaron, probably easier if i work through your response paragraph by paragraph;
Para 1. Lewis was massively faster throughout the race, I take your point on the incorrect pressure in stint one, and the supersoft not being effective in stint two, but stint three was the longest, same tyre correct pressure, and same pace advantage for Lewis.
Para2, It isn't onvious that Valterri turned his PU down, that is your assumption. His lap times were poor in comparison prior to the switch as well. The Mercedes PU has a set number of KM that it can be run in the higher mode, this modes use is controlled by the pit wall, not the drivers. The Pus have to last five races, three down so we don't need to wait until the end of the season to see if your theory is correct.
Para3, Australia and Bahrain are not even similar tracks, Lewis couldn't overtake Max in Melbourne, but overtook Ricciardo in Bahrain very easily, there is no reason to believ that Valterri could have kept him behind. The reason for the switch was to keep alive the faint chance of Lewis catching Seb, he had so much more pace than Bottas I don't doubt he would have got passed him anyway.
Para4, Rosberg did heed the order to hold station in Malaysia 2013, but only after repeated radio calls from Ross Brawn ordering him to heed the order rather than ignoring it, which he had been doing. The two Mercs were marginal on fuel and tyre wear that day, both drivers were given a set lap time to run that would get them to the end without needing another pit stop. Lewis was running to that lap time, but Nico ignored and closed the gap to Lewis. In Hungary 2014 R Lewis was aked to let Nico by, and replied that he would if Nico got closer, Nico did not get closer and so it never happened. Mercedes admitted after the race that it was unreasonable of them to expect Lewis to ruin his own race to help Nico. Nico was not the faster Mercedes driver that day, he started from pole and Lewis started from the pit lane. In Monaco 2016 Nico was slower than Lewis by around two seconds a lap, the team made the obvious call to switch positions, and then Nico pitted around six laps later. If Nico had ignored the call Lewis would have moved ahead when he pitted anyway, no chance of Rosberg keeping Lewis behind. Lewis is as hyper competitive, selfish and ruthless as all the other top drivers, but your examples of him defying team orders are poor.
Para 5, as I rememebr it any chance Nico had of winning the Hungarian GP in 2014 vanished when he was unable to pass Jean Eric Vergne, he followed him for several laps and lost a lot more time doing that than he did following Lewis. If you look at the lap times Nico was actually delivering in the five or six laps he was following Hamilton, he was slower on several of those. It is another assumption that he would have won, highly unlikely in my view. I make no claim about lewis' ability to overtake Seb on Sunday, only that ot was worth a shot. The other rather obvious difference between 2014 and 2017 is three years ago the championship was always going to be between the two Merc drivers, asking a driver to help his only championship rival is expecting a lot, and in no way similar to the situation in Bahrain.
Para6, I agree with this completely, fun as the last three years have been for a Lewis fan, even I was getting a little bored of Merc being so far ahead. Ferrari's resurgance is great news for the sport, and I would love it to go down to the last race, and let the best man/team win. Red Bull seemed to have reasonable pace on Sunday, maybe they can come good at some tracks.

183

2002 was Dominant Ferrari year, it was ridiculous to even issue a team order at that stage. These 2 scenarios aren't even close.

184

2002 was a Dominant Ferrari year(the dominance was only evident after a few races. Ferrari & Micheal had lost the WDC in 1997, 1998, 1999(Irvine) all at the last races. They were being very risk adverse because even the 2000 WDC was won at the penultimate race. To be honest Rueben's was no where in 2001 so Ferrari put all their chips on Micheal. A lot similar to what Ferrari and Mercedes will do this Season. Feel sorry for Kimi & Bottas fans but unless they drastically turn their season around, both of them are destined to be no 2 drivers this year.

185

"Whatever Rob Smedley’s achievements in F1, he will always be remembered as the engineer who said to Massa “Fernando is faster than you.”

"Felipe baby, stay cool, we're bringing you the white visor, stay cool".
That's what i'll remember him for.

186

Mercedes may soon wish they hired Wehrlein on a 1 year apprenticeship as the number 2 driver as they may end up with 2 drivers taking points from each other as Vettel goes on to win the drivers title favoured by Ferrari's inability to put 2 good cars on the track.

187

Bahrain is fast becoming my favourite circuit, giving us some great races in the last few years, although I fear it could have been an even better race had max not retired and Hamilton not got that silly penalty. Kimi is clearly well off vettels pace, and bottas is clearly off hamiltons pace, although not by as much as kimi is. Bottas deserves more time, its not fair to call him a number 2 after only 3 races, we have to give him until atleast halfway through the season before we judge him I think, but I do believe this year it will come down to Sebastian and lewis ultimately.

I have 3 further points:
If Bottas is 3rd to those two guys all year, is that enough for Mercedes to give him another contract because he only has a one year deal remember....

How can Ferrari allow kimi to consistently finish so far behind his team mate? and surely they'll be looking to replace him next year, with grosjean from HAAS or possibly the return of Alonso?

Finally is there any light at the end of the tunnel for McLaren,? Stoffel unable to start, and Alonso DNF AGAIN? surely this partnership is doomed!

188

" Hamilton lost the race due to a series of setbacks, which started with not getting pole, then losing a place at the start to Vettel, then making an error under the Safety Car, which attracted a five second penalty then being constrained to take used soft tyres for the final stint as Mercedes was struggling on race day to get the supersofts to perform and to last"
This has been Lewis' trademark. Every time he's under pressure, he cracks.
I wonder if this preferential no1 stsatus in the team is what made Nico Rosberg say enough is enough and walked away?

189

Popov, "every time he is under pressure he cracks" and you give only having used softs available for the final stint as an example of this?! Hilarious!

190

This has been Lewis' trademark. Every time he's under pressure, he cracks.

It's 2017, not 2010, meanwhile Hamilton won 2 championships (even if in the most dominant car of the history) and even last year, when he lost it, he maintained his cool in those last races, delivering the most from them only to keep his chances alive.

Hamilton's worst enemy is himself and not when under pressure, but when he is ahead in the standings - he is prone to loosing focus.

191

"We" always say F1 is a team sport...then when a team order is issued "everyone" is surprised...

192

I'm reminded of other incidents involving team orders with Mercedes in the past. Monaco last year and Hungary in '14. Obviously circumstances are usually different, but Hamilton's remarks after Hungary were pretty telling when it came to the question of giving the team a race win.

Obviously the team's guidelines regarding such issues have become more well defined over time. Perhaps they weren't as clear in the past.

193

It's a very difficult one and I don't envy Toto Wolff one bit. It's too early in the championship to issue the "for the championship" order but at the same time Hamilton is clearly the one that will be in contention so why deny him points, the championship is fought over 20 races (or whatever it is this year) and they are equally important.

If I was a team boss I would employ an no holding up rule, if the car behind is clearly faster then, unless its for the lead of the race (not including any need to let someone go for strategy reasons), the guy in front has to let him through, this would apply to both drivers until such a point that one of them is clearly out of the championship race.

Then again, I also think that if you are not winning without your team mate moving aside for you all the time then you don't deserve the championship.

I restate the point I made months ago, I think a lot of people will end this season with a new found respect for Rosberg...

194

Darren. The rule you say Mercedes should have in place, is e a rly the rule they do have in place! The car behind was clearly faster, and they were not running one two.

195

I would have done the same as Mercedes, Bottas wasn't fast enough. As things stand I can see Vettel ending the year as WDC and Mercedes retaining the WCC. Biggest disappointment for me isn't Bottas it's Raikkonen, I really hoped he would do well at Bahrain. Bottas has a big task to match Hamilton but he is getting closer, Raikkonen is going backwards. I fear both the Red Bulls might beat him in Russia as well.

196

It was clear after a few laps bottas wasnt up to pace,he had a train behind him...if Lewis had of been behind bottas from the start,Mercedes would of let Lewis past sooner..then let bottas back up Vettel...bottas's job at Mercedes is to help Lewis to become champion...

197

bottas's job at Mercedes is to help Lewis to become champion...

Sorry, but this is utter tosh.
Mercedes spent so much money and resources in leveraging Bottas out from Williams with only one purpose: becoming the first constructor to win consecutive WCC across different technical regulations.

If Bottas starts winning races and ends up being world Champion I'm sure they won't mind, it would further underscore the supremacy of the brand and minimize Hamilton's influence (they weren't too happy the way things turned out after Rosberg's premature departure) .

198

Two years ago in monaco red bull told Kvyat to let ricciardo past so that he could challenge the race leader. He did and when ricci couldn't close down the leader he graciously gave the position back to Kvyat. Why couldn't mercedes have done the same here?

199

Kenneth. That's exactly what Lewis said over the radio prior to the first order being given "if I can't catch him, then I will let him (Bottas) back through". But he was catching him.

200

Part of me wishes Dan didn't give that place back - Kvyat obtained it by a risky, low-percentage 4-wheel locking manoeuvre at Ste Devote, and proceeded to fall off the leaders. Dan closed a massive gap in a handful of laps when given the opportunity. I would probably not have been so gracious!

201

I would have done the same.....in fact I think when VB was struggling to keep up post safety car I would have made the call ( VB to close up to Vettel or let HAM through to have a go...with a swap back option if HAM can't close the gap. Remember VB had the faster tyre SS too and HAM was still faster).

I think with that...the pit stops times and HAM error costing 5 secs all lead to Mercedes-Benz letting the win slip through their fingers....taking nothing away from Vettel who drove a great race.

As for the team orders.... looking at the pace advantage...HAM was always going to get past and trying to fight would have made it harder for VB to get to the end in 3rd. The team did the sensible thing and even VB knows that....for this race.

....As a side note can we please stop all this No2 driver..VB was "destroyed etc Clearly not a great race for him but let's give him and the team time to find the right set ups etc.

202

If Hamilton had pace, then why couldn't he overtake Bottas, instead of waiting for team order.

203

Can Lewis defeat Bottas ?
IMO, Lewis can, is able to.
However Mercedes keeps bretraying Bottas {the 2nd driver} giving lame excuses to him and F1 fans.
Beyond the wrong pressure on tires, Mercedes keep spliting the race strategy when Lewis is behind, to benefit him.
Furthermore, Merc gives the optimal tire to Lewis and the wrong one to Bottas.
The soft tire {yellow band} is better for Bottas as seen in Australia.
So Lewis made the race with the optimized combo {SS; S; S}, while Bottas 2nd stint race pace was hurt again w/ the wrong kind of tires.
So Mercedes is faking an inferior race pace situation to induce a psycological domination of Lewis over Bottas, since Merc knows Bottas is a "team player".
IMO, this is worse than what Ferrari do/used to do with Rubens.
At least Ferrari came clean to say the race startegy is optimized towards the #1 driver. If the #2 driver signed the contract, the #2 agrees.
Toto is a wolf in wolf's clothes.
And Lewis WDCs at Mercedes are tainted by the veiled favoritism.

204

I anawered YES, but I want to say that Toto is a hypocrite in this case. He was always saying that they are proud to treat both drivers fully equallu. Sure, when you can qualify 15th and win easily, when you can do a 20-sec pitstop and still come 1-2...but they have the competition for the first time and ready want to rethink team orders. Even Ferrari did not ask Kimi to let Vettel go in China

205

... when you can qualify 15th and win easily, when you can do a 20-sec pitstop and still come 1-2 ...

When did either scenario happen? Definitely the first never happened. Just exaggerating?

206

Bottas was so clearly lacking in pace that I'd like to think he would have moved over even without an order to do so.

207

Team orders in the third race - not something I would have expected and would prefer not to see. It makes Lewis look bad too, why din't he simply pass him on merit...

To be fair to Bottas, his results have been pretty good as a new driver to the team. Still there's a lot going on behind the scenes; who does Toto expect to be his drivers next season?

Personally I'd enjoy seeing Bottas win in Russia.

208
Stuart Abrahart

What got me is why they didn't reverse the positions when it was obvious Hamilton wouldn't catch Vettel. Then they could of had a proper fight without Bottas becoming the new F1 Lapdog regardles of the outcome.. Hamiltons dad stated it could be a career ender for Bottas partnering Hamilton. Mercedes are helping it hapen!..

209

Bottas was slower than Hamilton even before the Safety Car. Had Mercedes given Lewis the 1st pit stop if there was no SC?

210

Bottas is considered second driver from the start. He is not a real winner. Not talking about pace alone. For example look at Max when Vettel did a undercut he asked the team to do the same he is adapting and thinking ahead etc. to make the best out of every situation. Ham and Vet do the same. Bottas just drives the rest is up to the team. He has no own initiative. The to high tyre pressure's is a bit weird. It's like they did it on purpose to give Hamilton the edge for an early pass to build up a gap to Vettel cause it's obvious from the start Ham and Vet are the 2 fighting for the championship.

211

I dunno what all the fuss is about. Given the circumstances at that time in this race, getting Hamilton past Bottas as quickly as possible was the only sensible course of action. Bottas was never going to catch Vettel. Hamilton had an outside chance. Just a shame the order didn't come on lap 18. As for possible demotivation of Bottas, that's up to him but he must know that his pace didn't give the team any other option.

212

There is no need for official team orders at Mercedes. You should only have team orders if the two cars are evenly matched and right now Bottas is struggling against Lewis.

As for Bahrain, Mercedes were compromised by the SC. It is the only logical reason I can come up with to explain why they did not pit Bottas immediately after Vettel. With Kimi a non-factor at this point and with the top three cars so evenly matched, Mercedes had the perfect opportunity to split strategy and box in Ferrari but they did not try. I can only assume they locked into a one stop race plan, which would still give them the option of attacking Vettel after the Ferrari's second stop by again having the option of splitting strategy. I think the SC compromised that plan becasue it closed up the field and took away the time difference that they were counting on to keep Ferrari on the defensive. The Lewis pit mistake simply compounded their problems. As Lewis pointed out, this is the second time he has misjudged his pit approach speed.

213

The decision to swap will come back to haunt them if Hamilton has an off weekend. I don't think he would readily give up a position for any team-mate. Also, what was with Hamilton's sour face after the race?

Enjoyed this race but not as much as China. Could have been 3 in a row for Vettel if not for the safety car in China.

214
Martin O. Powell

It could have been 3 in a row for Nico Hülkenberg if they was so many cars in front of him!

215

The time for the order was just after Vettel got past and it was clear he was pulling away.

By the time the order came, the horse had already bolted.

Could have Hamilton then raced Vettel and got five seconds in front? Not sure but at least he'd have been in the game.

216

Bottas is still finding his feet. I'd like to see an article on why Raikkonen has been such a poor driver, since 2013 really.

217

It was a bit irritating after the race to listen to the commenters suggesting Mercedes needs to decide now to back Hamilton as No. 1. That would be the worse thing they could do.

I think any team should give team orders if it's clear that one of the drivers in a specific race has a legitimate chance of a race win. The way this works, as the article points out, is for the team to be transparent in the debriefs to show the affected driver that it was a legitimate chance (obviously this is for the top teams). But mid field teams face this with one driver in with better pace and a real chance to gain one or two positions, which can mean jus as much to a team in terms of the WCC title, and money at the end of the season.

Integrity is the key.

218

Hamilton has mentioned DRS failure cost him pole, have you heard anything about that to confirm it? It's strange he waited till after the race to mention it.

219

Even if Bottas wasn't ordered to let Hamilton pass, I think he would have got him by the next straight. He was damn faster than Bottas in the last stint.

220

All the conspiracy enthusiasts, do they only engage vigorously when it is Hamilton that is slower than his own team mate and not when its vice versa?

221

Cyber. Could we have some examples of a similar situation to Bahrain when Lewis has been that much slower than his team mate?

222
Tornillo Amarillo

Bottas never won and never got pole... until now that he did the pole in Barhain 2017, check.

The only target for Bottas is to renovate the contract with Merc in summer, or late in the year. For doing that, he should score more points than Kimi and fight for the WCC, the driver championship should not be a realistic target now.

So far he is doing well, obeying the team, doing a pole, and in Bahrain finishing ahead of Kimi. Everybody "has" to forget his silly double-spin in China.

First of all this year Valteri has to win a few races, that will be a huge step for his career and his country, and with that to target a new contract in this team -preventing Alonso or Vettel or Sainz or whoever gets a seat on a Merc-.

Next year yes, he will mount the challenge for his WDC bid from day one. It's clear for me.

But team orders should be given only when it is true than "Hamilton is faster than you", and it is excellent if the team advise about the situation 3 laps before in order to give him the opportunity to pickup the pace. AND VICE-VERSA, Hamilton should move in the very same circumstances during the race.

So for me is YES to team orders, but NON to "1 and 2 driver status."
Toto could clarify this way of balance and fair play. 🙂

223

My opinion is this is one race where decisions were made based on the actual pace of the two cars. It in no manner shape or form indicate that Mercedes were favouring Hamilton over Bottas. If that were the case, then why not have pitted Hamilton first, and in the second stint, why allow Hamilton to trail Bottas for so long while Vettel was increasing the lead, and the team knew that Bottas was far off the pace, and Hamilton was much faster? I believe that this is where the race was actually lost for Mercedes. I am not one to slate Bottas however, it was an off day for he due to issues that were perhaps not in his control, such as wrong tire pressures, etc. As to why Hamilton did not give the position back, Valtteri had fallen almost 18 seconds behind him when he crossed the line. Would it have made any sense for Lewis to have waited?

224

If he's faster she should have no problem overtaking, period.

225

At the time I thought it unlikely that Ham could catch and pass Vet especially since Vet was at the front controlling the situation likely with time in hand running on a slower conservative mode. I think Merc should have made Ham pass Bot on track rather than team orders and Ham was so much faster it would not have taken long to pass Bot, so in a sense it doesn't matter about team orders since they would have ended the race in this order anyways. I thought it was really out of the realm of possibilities that he would have actually caught Vet, but I guess you just never know

226

Bottas is a nice guy. But a bit boring and simply not at the same level as Lewis. Perfect no2.
Just goes to show rosberg was very fast and under valued. I hope mercedes try and sign one of the redbull boys to give Lewis something to think about .

227

But a bit boring and simply not at the same level as Lewis. Perfect no2.

I have to say I wonder where you came up with this conclusion.
I presume you don't know him personally, so the "boring" attribute is just how you perceive him...being finnish (same as Raikkonen, Hakkinen) doesn't ring any bell, does it?
About him being at the same level as Hamilton or the "Perfect no2", it's his 3rd (yes, third) race for Mercedes and he already won a pole.
Being in a new team, getting your head around all the things that are done different, feel different, are different (steering wheels for example) takes time and it is impossible to perform at 100% from the start. Give the man time and some credit, he is improving.

As an example, here are the two steering wheels, the one from 2016 from Williams and the current one from Mercedes.

228
Martin O. Powell

It's the same for all driver who change teams.

229

I've always wondered why, when Ferrari gives team orders, there is always such a massive outcry. But when Mercedes does it, there is hardly a complain. The poll itself shows that people approve even when it was done in just the 3rd race. The THIRD race!!! Give me a break! Mercedes clearly considers Bottas as 2nd rate.
On this same vein, remember the 2006 Monaco "parking" incident. This is what Keke Rosberg had to say about Michael Schumacher:
"He should resign from the Grand Prix Drivers Association and never mention the word safety again. It he was a real man he would have parked the car in the middle of the road and walked away. We would have thought much better of him. It was the worst thing I have seen in Formula One. I thought he had grown up. He is a cheap cheat. He should leave F 1 to honest people."
Well, well! I don't remember Keke saying anything when Nico did the exact same thing at Monaco 2014. Yes, yes, he was cleared by the marshalls! I wasn't born yesterday, and neither were a lot of pundits who were shocked at the clearance.
Going back to Bottas, he is psycologically damaged like DC was permanently damaged by, guess who, Maclaren-MERCEDES. If Ferrari had done this in China, then Vettel would now have been three wins out of three. Then all the Hamilton-Mercedes fans, the Kimi fans, as well as all the Ferrari haters would be screaming bloody murder.
But it's Lewis, it's Mercedes. Hell lets just stop racing and give both titles to Lewis and Mercedes.

230

Bottas was good to move over. His pace was way off that of Hamilton's so it made sense for the team to make the switch. Hamilton probably could have passed him anyway, but why take the risk? Bottas is a pretty strong character so I hope he bounces back with a better race in Sochi. I think the graph above also illustrates that there Bottas was so slow that there was even a threat from Raikkonen behind. Best to release Hamilton and prevent that additional threat too.

A question: why did Hamilton get the penalty on pit entry? He clearly slowed down to stack the pit stop and delayed Ricciardo by doing so, but why is that a penalty? Did he drop below the SC time delta? In Abu Dhabi last year he drove most of the race slowly and that wasn't a problem. Is there one rule for green flag racing and another for the SC? Personally, I think it's a great tactic (in both cases). Without that penalty, it would have been a lot closer at the end.

231

I think this is a problem that Mercedes have made for themselves in two ways.

a) Creating a car that cannot follow other cars as closely without getting unstable;
b) Toto flipping out whenever his cars have even the slightest touch; I'm sure that Lewis wouldn't be patiently pursuing for ten laps if he was allowed to risk banging tyres with his team-mate, like in the season that Nico got the most poles, then lost the lead to Lewis before the first corners on lap one.

232

I just wonder if Mercedes is feeling the loss of Paddy Lowe with so many silly errors, over inflating Bottas' tires, wheel guns not working properly, Hamilton's DRS not opening. There is no room for these missteps when Ferrari are on top of it, and Vettel comfortable. It will be an interesting season for sure.

233

James. Can you give us any more information on what assistance mercedes have given honda. How can they assist without knowing the ins and outs and full details of the Honda engine. Also why have mercedes felt the need to help and not ferrari and renault?.

234

How to make split compressor and turbine work etc

235

I honestly never thought Ham had a chance of getting Vet, he was just too far back and never had enough over Vet to even catch let alone pass.
Looking at the trace chart its easy to see why though; only 1 small peoblem for Vet and Ham right there, also Ferrari is a one horse (excuse the pun!) for the championship - cant really see Kimi overcoming Seb - while we have already seen Bott taking some of the cream when Ham has a small slip such as in quali.

James, how do you read this situation going forward? There will be plenty of times when Bott is competing with Ham but Vet is never going to see serious pressure from Kimi, it's a timeless dilemma and one Ferrari will be relieved to not need to manage,
Thoughts people?

236
Clarks4WheelDrift

I wonder if Mercedes will now give Lewis priority on pit stop undercuts whether he is behind or ahead of Bottas...

Then I wonder if they'll compromise Bottas's pit stop windows to make sure he holds up Vettel now and again.

I wonder if they care about the impact on the 'Mercedes brand' of stopping Bottas racing with Lewis so early in the season.

Mercedes true racers, aye right!!

237

@CW4D.... Of course they are true racers, they keep telling us that!

238

Clarkes. You are over reaching. We will see what happens but there is no reason to believe that the scenarios you imagine will take place. Bottas was in no position to race Lewis in Bahrain, he was too slow for that.

239

Can you imagine Wehrlein (P11 with Sauber in his first race) letting pass Hamilton by orders in his 3rd race?

Bottas is "very well adapted to the team" so Hammy is smiling even after P2

No rude press conference asking team orders or Valteri's problems, just a long story of one of his advocates explaining a paradox: the faster the driver, the more team helps.

This is F1!

240

Let's be honest Bottas got his **** handed to him on a plate in Bahrain. Yes I'm aware that they over inflated his tyres for the first stint but they didn't for the 2nd or the 3rd.

Neither Mercedes or Bottas have since come out and said there was an issue with the car. Until they do, or it's explained otherwise, it simply appears that Bottas didn't have an answer for Hamilton's pace.

I've never rated Bottas that much. His wet weather performances have been abysmal from memory - worse than Rosberg. So I always had him marked as a decent number 2. Certainly not champion material.

Australia this year and I thought, until Sunday, he was going to be a bad number 2.
Bahrain - ok so Hamilton mucked up his qualifying but still a great lap by Bottas. Maybe, just maybe Bottas is better than I gave him credit for.

Until the race. He could end up being the next Trulli. Great qualifier but disappears during the races.

Wehrlien is currently putting in some stellar performances with the Sauber....

241

Sign of things to come I'm afraid.

242

The Bahrain go brought a few things to light.
Did Valteri really , honestly believe he was going to be allowed to beat LH?? Fair shout on getting pole but this is the tip of the F1 and huge investments etc have been made. If no one else will I,ll say it. Unless you up your game/stock significantly you will be a no2 driver to LH.

243

Hamilton was always going to overtake Bottas with or without team orders. The only difference was that without having to fight, Hamilton might have a small chance of challenging Vettel for the win. So Bottas moving out of the way was the right thing to do, and the pit wall just needed to give him the message.

244

I feel for Bottas, the pressure he is under to perform at Lewis' level is immense and will only increase if he doesn't speed up. Let's not forget that he's on a one-year contract.

Sadly, I don't think he's ever going to bother Lewis, at least not on a consistent basis. He never had enough of an edge over Massa who was dominated by Alonso at Ferrari.

245

There's your reason why Bottas is not world championship material.

Can you imagine Alonso, Vettel, Verstappen, or Hamilton doing that? Vettel told the team to jump when asked to do so at RBR - maybe that killer instinct is why he's got 4 WDCs and going for a 5th.

246

Bottas should have done his research on the team he was joining.

Team orders at Mercedes mean nothing and there is no penalty for ignoring them: Even orders that are given to improve Constructors points.

Hamilton has ignored orders in 2014 (Hungary) and 2017 (Abu Dhabi) and look what happened as a result. Nothing.

When Rosberg has obeyed team orders (Malaysia 2013 and Monaco 2016) there has been no payback.

Bottas should be advised to ignore any future team orders unless he truly wants to be subordinate.

247

I'm was not surprised to hear Hamilton give Wolff a not so subtle "we can't let the Ferrari's get too far ahead" message over the radio Sunday. After all, he runs the team.

What he was really saying was "I am the number 1 driver, I know it and you know it so tell Bottas to move aside". Nothing like destroying a drivers confidence. Another Alonso, Maasa scenario.

So he was gifted Bottas' place so he could put on a show - ripping off some fast laps while Vettel comfortably managed his lead. The truth is Hamilton had a snowballs chance in hell of catching Vettel.

Great work Toto...you deserve to lose!

248

@ derek.... a very good post and i agree 100%. It was far better for wolff to give the instruction then there wouldn't be any blowback on hamilton, who should've been able to breeze past anyway! Once the instruction was given i feel that Bottas knew he had been shafted so he paced himself to the end. There was no way that hamilton was going to catch vettel and even if did he wouldn't be able to pass him! He couldn't even pass Bottas who was in a slower car than Vettel. No, i see this as simply a face saving for the team and hamilton exercise.

249

I think if VB end up showing good pace by the end of the season, he will be free to win the championship on 2018 with MERC even if HAM continues, but for 2017 he is DRIVER #2 period, will be allow to win races? of course, why not? if he have the pace and chance he will win races this year, but if HAM needs it then he will need to give up his position because HE IS DRIVER #2, I don't see the big deal or why people is concern about this, are we F1 fans? because doesn't look like some understand that F1 has been always be like that.

Like Rosberg did VB needs to deliver and fight to deserve it.

250

I think the team had to make this decision and Bottas took the pragmatic approach to acquiesce. Shades of Monaco 2016, when Rosberg let Hamilton go. Also of Bahrain 2012, when one team's (understandable) reluctance to deploy team orders benefited Vettel (Lotus in that case). The problem is not the deployment of team orders per se, but the context; he was too slow. It weakened any defence he may have had in not complying, despite his strong pole position. Bottas has shown he's a team player but can he show that he belongs alongside Lewis and Vettel?

It's a bit like with leaders of political parties; once they've won the party leadership election, they should be given time to connect with the public (Bottas should be given time to get up to speed at Merc). Yet, in practice, the public's impression of a leader is often formed very quickly, and if they don't connect early, they very probably never will (in practice, if Bottas can't match Hamilton early on, he very probably never will). Happy for Bottas to prove me wrong though.

251

Seems like Merc is eager than Ferrari or RedBull to label Number 2 on a driver. Last 3 years they are absolutely sure they can win the title between the two of the drivers so didn't bother team orders and Toto frequently boasted about how they allow their drivers to race. Now that Ferrari is almost on par they clearly made Bottas number 2 in 3rd race of the year. That's worst than Alonso-Massa or Schumacher-Barrichello/Irvine standard

252

James, I respect your insight and expertise in everything formula 1, but why haven't you reported lewi's q3 drs malfunctioning? All it all it was a terrible weekend for mercedes. They can't hope to constantly challenge ferrari or more specifically vettel with these blunders.

253

It's only just emerging now and we're assessing it

254

I find it a bit bewildering that they let Hamilton through, from where I was sitting he was never going to make up the time deficit to Vettel. He clearest had more pace in hand, I do believe the best thing to do would have been to let Hamilton overtake Bottas on his own merit, which I do believe he would have done anyway. Sure it would have been too late for the win, but for me Hamilton lost the race at the start when Vettel overtook him.

255

Geee, the way things panned out it would have been better to do as you suggest, but the chance was there, slim but there.

256

I believe this was not right decision for so many facts
1. Too early to force team order.
2-Bottas is very good calm driver. He won't Crack under pressure as Hamilton did in so many times. We already saw it twice
3- psychologically nit good to create that on team need to be cohesive
4- Botta has only 1 yr contract. So I would think. What if he think. Well. I'm going to press harder for better deal even out if Merced as they failing already.
5- what if things turn around and Botta doing better. Will Mercedes ask Hamilton to be#2?? Won't happen
6- thus action will backfire on Merc in favor of Ferrari. Time will tell

257

I understand that the team would have given Bottas a good reason to let Hamilton by. But I can't imagine them saying: 'let lewis by, if he has amazing pace AND passes Vettel AND makes a 5 second gap, he could win!!!'

Must be pretty hard to swallow that they didn't just hand second place to LH.

Top Tags
SEARCH Innovation
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!