Russian Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel still believes he can win title

Sherman Parsons
October 5, 2018

Toto Wolff, team principal for the Silver Arrows, admitted it was an agonising decision, and one which led to him enduring a restless night on Saturday after Bottas beat Hamilton to pole.

Ferrari has fought with Mercedes for overall honours this season, with Sebastian Vettel trading the points lead with Lewis Hamilton across the opening half of 2018.

Bottas said he did not understand why he was moved aside after being told to attack Max Verstappen, who was leading the race on old tyres because he had not made a pitstop at that point. "I don't think he needs to do that". Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 189 (-117) 4.

"Valtteri was willing to sacrifice his win in Sochi to help protect our one-two and extend our lead in both championships - and he said he'd be prepared to do the same again tomorrow", Wolff said.

"Yeah, hard day", a disgruntled Bottas said.

'This season we have seen that it comes in waves, so you can not take our Russian Federation performance for granted and say this is what we expect to go on for the remainder of the season'.

"Lewis is fighting for the championship and I am not so from the team's point of view it was the ideal result, but maybe not ideal for me", Bottas said. "It would have been a race win for him and we changed it". I would rather be the baddie today and not the idiot at the end of the year.

With Mercedes also showing that they are not opposed to pulling team orders to allow Hamilton to creep even further ahead in the title race, the sprint to the championship just had another blockade put in for Ferrari.

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"I assured Valtteri it wasn't something I asked for, but it is something the team felt was right for us to do".

With Verstappen running a long first stint, Bottas was second and Hamilton third with some signs of tyre blistering while Vettel was closing in.

In motorsport, team orders are instructions from the principle which demand drivers to stop racing competitively against each other as they would other teams' drivers.

This meant that Hamilton finished first and Bottas came second at the Sochi Autodrom.

"Rationally, it was the right call to do", he said.

Meanwhile, Vettel's hopes of a dramatic turnaround look increasingly forlorn after finishing third behind the two Mercedes in Russian Federation. But it required Bottas to allow Hamilton past when he was in a strong position himself. I think every one of us was facing this struggle between our head and our heart on Sunday.

"I was waiting to get some news or something like that, but I knew that the team wanted it to end that way".

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