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Lewis Hamilton never asked for Sochi team order: Bottas 'deserved to win'

Written by  Jan 05, 2019

Lewis Hamilton says never asked for the use of team orders at the Russian Grand Prix, insisting it was solely the decision of Mercedes.

The moment in Sochi was one of the most divisive of the 2018 season as the Briton was ushered in front of teammate Valtteri Bottas amid the close presence of championship rival Sebastian Vettel.

While most understood the reasoning for the call, it left a sour taste with Hamilton himself making an admission in an interview on the Mercedes website.

"I really hope that there’s never a scenario like this again," the five-time Formula 1 champion said.

Hamilton went on to explain the context which led to the events in Russia.

“By this point in the year the team were like, ‘we’re going to do everything to make sure, Lewis is now so far ahead you can’t catch him so now we’ve got to start supporting him to make sure we tie up both championships’.

“Neither Valtteri nor I sit in the room saying we want cars reversed, we just want to go out there and earn the position and race for it."

The 33-year-old then revealed his own hesitancy when the decision was made by the Mercedes pit-wall. 

“Ultimately Valtteri was quicker that weekend and deserved to win," Lewis stated.

“But it was really awkward when I got the call that Valtteri was going to let me by, I can’t remember exactly, I think I said something like ‘just tell him to speed up’.

“I think in the race I was quicker, in qualifying he was quicker.”

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The disappointment was clear post-race with the muted celebrations in parc ferme and the podium.

“Coming across the line I’m very conflicted because if I think with my heart then I would have had it the other way but in life and in competition you’ve got to seize the moment, you’ve got to take it as it comes and you’ve got to seize it when you have the opportunity," Hamilton conceded.

“If you put your feelings first you might not come out where you planned if that makes sense.

“The team had taken the decision and even though I really wanted, the whole rest of that race, you just let him back by, I took the decision to stick with what the team had chosen to do.

“It was the right decision to make but ultimately, we didn’t need to have that day but I think it was an important day in the sense of how we come together."

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