Mercedes Claim Bottas/Hamilton Team Orders Could’ve Been Avoided Entirely at Spanish GP

Published 05/13/2021, 11:51 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – May 9, 2021 Third placed Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas celebrates on the podium with a trophy REUTERS/Albert Gea


One of the highlights of the Spanish Grand Prix that took place last weekend was Valtteri Bottas receiving a team order to let his teammate Lewis Hamilton pass him, and the Finn refusing to do so. While both drivers have given their opinion on whether or not the situation was ideal, the team have now revealed that the situation was entirely avoidable.

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During the usual post-race debrief, Mercedes’ Andrew Shovlin explained how Hamilton would’ve passed Bottas easily, had things gone differently in the previous lap.

He said, “Valtteri is in his own race. One of the things we said to Valtteri was to try and build this gap to Leclerc. Although their lap times were starting to get more similar, as Valtteri’s tires are wearing out. So he’s trying to push as fast as he can, he then got the message not to hold Lewis up.

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“He would have been able to let him go by much more easily if Lewis had got DRS the lap before they actually pass.”

At that time, Hamilton was just over one second ahead of his teammate. So, he had missed out on the DRS by one-hundredth of a second. If the Briton had got DRS, he would have been able to overtake the Finn on the straight. If Bottas backed off, he would have lost at least two seconds.

What happened to Valtteri Bottas after the overtake?

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Admittedly, the Finn’s tires were already fading and he already had to overtake the Ferrari. In light of this, the Mercedes team considered pitting him earlier. Once he got the new set of tires, he would have sailed past Charles Leclerc fairly easily. In that kind of situation, both Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas would have minimized the time lost.

Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – May 2, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas before the race Pool via REUTERS/Gabriel Bouysas

Now, both drivers are keenly looking forward to the next race in Monte Carlo. The iconic street circuit has often been a happy hunting ground for Mercedes, with Hamilton winning at least twice for the German team. While Valtteri Bottas has not reached the top step as yet, he is still a talented driver.

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Dhruv George

11609 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Formula One and NASCAR analyst for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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