Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has said that they ordered Valtteri Bottas to stay put to secure their 1-2 at the German Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton somehow clawed his way to the front from 14th to wind up ahead of his teammate during a late safety car period. The car had to be scrambled out when race leader Sebastian Vettel crashed out in wet conditions.
At the restart, Bottas smelt blood and briefly challenged Hamilton for the lead. However, Mercedes’ strategy chief James Vowles instructed the Finn to hold station behind Lewis.
Responding to questions about the order, Wolff said that the team did not want to risk throwing away valuable points. Especially at a time when they needed to respond to Ferrari’s pace.
“First of all we didn’t have the quickest car here and we need to progress for the next races because that is the most important,” Wolff said.
“It was still raining at the time and the fight was so intense. There was all to lose with the bad luck that we had in the last races, and we wanted to keep it calm at that stage.”
To be fair, Mercedes had it’s own share of bad luck in recent races. This included a double retirement in Austria and Hamilton’s clash with Kimi Raikkonen in Britain. Wolff confessed that fortune had favoured his team at Hockenheim.
“All the bad luck that we have came back to us with tremendous good luck,” he said. “And that makes me happy.”
Bottas was understandably gutted at seeing a potential first win of the season slip through his grasp. However, he maintained that he accepted the Mercedes call.
“We had a bit of a battle on lap one after the safety car with Lewis,” he said. “I didn’t get past then and they told me to minimise the risk, which I understand.”