Lewis Hamilton managed to score his third win out of four races this season. The Brit managed to become victorious and increase his lead at the top of the F1 drivers’ championship with the help of an audacious two-stop strategy.
After his second pitstop, Hamilton dropped to third place behind teammate Valtteri Bottas. But Mercedes gave orders to Bottas to not hold up Hamilton as both were on different strategies.
The switch took place on Turn 10, but it seemed like Bottas was reluctant initially. Eventually, he gave in and let Hamilton pass.
The Finn claimed that he would have let Hamilton pass earlier had he not been fighting Charles Leclerc.
“I definitely could have let him by earlier,” Bottas said.
“But I was doing my own race as well, so I was always calculating things. I was trying to get Charles off the pit window so I could stop again and try and go for an extra point. The main thing in my mind was my own race.
“They told me not to hold him up too much, but like I said, I was also doing my race. I’m not here to let people by, I’m here to race.”
Hamilton revealed that he was unaware of Bottas being given the instruction to let him pass.
“Honestly I didn’t know that he had a message, so in my mind, I was like, we’re racing, and that’s totally fine for me, particularly early on in this part of the season,” Hamilton said.
“In my mind I was like OK, I’ve got to get close, and go for an overtake. But then obviously when we went into Turn 10, we were on massively different strategies, so I was going to get him at some stage because I had much better tyres.
“We were going into Turn 10, and I thought there was a gap there, and I wasn’t quite sure, and then there was a gap, and Valtteri was completely fair. I hope I didn’t lose him too much time.”
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was able to understand Bottas’ position in giving up his place.
“Racing drivers, their instincts are what they are,” Wolff said. “I would have wished that maybe, because Lewis was on a totally different strategy, it would have come a bit quicker.
“But in the end we scored the result, and I can relate to Valtteri that he had a tough day again, that you’re annoyed.
“If it would have lost us the race, I would have been more critical, but at the end, it’s something we can learn off.
“It goes both directions, and this is what we will be discussing, but in a very camaraderie-like way.”
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