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Watching Bottas give up victory in Sochi 'broke my heart', says Wolff

Written by  Dec 30, 2018

Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff claimed it "broke his heart" to see Valtteri Bottas give up a victory to Lewis Hamilton at the Russian Grand Prix.

The Finn had dominated for much of the weekend around the Sochi circuit on which he specialises but with his teammate under pressure from championship rival Sebastian Vettel, Mercedes opted to invoke team orders to save Hamilton from attack.

“We had to execute this awful team order,” the Austrian maintained. “It was Valtteri’s race to win and in order to collect the right points for Lewis, we switched the order.

“It was something that nobody likes, you could see the faces clearly not happy about the situation and also myself, it was something that goes against all our racing principles and ‘may the best guy win’.”

The order came from chief strategist James Vowles with Bottas allowing Lewis through at the end of the back straight on the same lap.

“When Valtteri moved aside, it broke my heart and I felt for him because I felt really terrible about it,” Wolff continued.

“But this sport can be cruel sometimes and this was one of those moments. In that instance, we had such a tough fight with Ferrari that there was no way we would leave points on the table.”

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Bottas did ask in vain if the order would be reversed in the closing laps and the unease of it all was clear post-race with muted celebrations.

Despite his disappointment, however, Valtteri conceded he would willingly move aside again.

“It was tough to accept, but at that point – with those circumstances, with the points and everything. I’m a team player, I took one for the team and I’d take one for the team tomorrow,” he commented.

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