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Mercedes’ decision to ask Valtteri Bottas to cede position to Lewis Hamilton in Formula 1’s Russian Grand Prix proved contentious, with Toto Wolff admitting he felt like “the baddy” post-race.
Having started from pole, Bottas was running second and on course to win when the yet-to-stop Max Verstappen pitted, but was asked to let Hamilton past midway through the race to alleviate the world championship leader’s rear-tyre blistering problems and protect him from Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
Despite admitting the call “doesn’t feel right”, team boss Wolff defended the decision to implement team orders – asking journalists how they would have managed the situation – while Vettel described the swap as a “no-brainer”.
F1 Racing magazine editor Ben Anderson is joined by executive director Stuart Codling to discuss the circumstances that led to the decision and why Mercedes’ judgement was ultimately the correct course of action.