Valtteri Bottas has revealed that he defied team orders on purpose after he was told to let teammate Lewis Hamilton pass by him at the Spanish Grand Prix.
While on lap 53, Bottas was told on the team radio to allow Hamilton to overtake him without any hindrance for second place. This was to allow the Brit to fight for the first place with Max Verstappen.
Just 11 laps earlier, Hamilton had made a pitstop and got fresh tyres to counter Verstappen towards the end of the race.
Instead of allowing Hamilton to seamlessly pass by, Bottas made it difficult for him to overtake. Hamilton, in the end, had to execute an overtaking manoeuvre to cross him.
Bottas had revealed earlier this year that he will be more single-minded this year and put his interests as a driver first. However, it would be interesting to see how this impacts his future in the team.
He was asked in an interview after the race if he had let Hamilton pass at the first opportunity.
“No, I definitely could have let him by earlier,” he said.
“But I was doing my own race, so there is always a moment to calculate things and I was trying to get Charles [Leclerc] out of the pit window so I could stop again and try and go for an extra point [with the fastest lap of the race].
“So the main thing in my mind was my own race.
“There wasn’t that much [talk over the team radio]. 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.”
Bottas was never involved in a fight against Hamilton who eventually went on to win the race. The Finn however claimed that his race was “compromised” after being overtaken in the opening exchanges by Leclerc’s Ferrari.
“What made it more tricky was I lost a place to Charles at lap one. He chose a better line through Turn 3,” said the 31-year-old.
“That compromised the race a bit. It’s a bit of a shame but I’m pleased to make it to the podium.”
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