Bottas would accept Mercedes team orders

Bottas would accept Mercedes team orders
Aug 31, 2018, 8:11 AM

Valtteri Bottas would accept team orders from Mercedes to help teammate Lewis Hamilton if it would earn the manufacturer a fifth straight Formula 1 title double.

Bottas is still waiting for his first win of the season after 13 races, as a variety of setbacks have all but eliminated his own title hopes.

The Finn is 87 points adrift of championship leader Hamilton and is also behind the Ferraris of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen, and Mercedes will consider employing team orders after this weekend's Italian Grand Prix.

"If the situation is clear that's the best thing for the team to try to win both titles then for sure I understand," said Bottas.

"Nobody wants to go to that position and be in that position as a driver but if the situation is so that I can't win the title, then of course I'm willing to help."

Mercedes has employed a policy of letting its drivers race for years, which famously led to Hamilton and ex-teammate Nico Rosberg colliding on more than one occasion during their exclusive title battles.

Since Ferrari became more of a threat last season, Mercedes has shown the necessary willingness to adapt its stance as required.

Bottas had to face questions about team orders in Germany, where Hamilton led a shock Mercedes one-two thanks to a mid-race downpour and Vettel crash, and Hungary, where Bottas was described as a "wingman" after defending from the Ferraris as Hamilton charged to victory.

However, those examples were a result of circumstance rather than the races being orchestrated by Mercedes, who Bottas believes will not treat him unfairly.

"If I would have the pace to win the race [in Italy this weekend] and if by pure speed if I am about to win, I am sure that the team will look at the situation," he said.

"I don't think in any case I would completely lose the freedom to win a race if I am able to do so.

"It just depends on the situation, if there is a clear way of kind to avoid me stealing points or to avoid Lewis losing points.

"I do trust the team. They have a lot of respect for me and good respect for both drivers. They wouldn't do anything too harsh."

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Series Formula 1
Author Scott Mitchell