Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton wrapped up another win in 2018, this time at the Russian GP. However, the manner in which is was achieved was rather controversial. As it turned out, the team ordered Valtteri Bottas to move over for Hamilton.
The Finn promptly complied and the championship leader swept past. From then on, it was simply a case of keeping Sebastian Vettel at bay. That task did not prove to be too hard as Ferrari were unable to keep up with Mercedes. What made it especially gutting was the fact that Bottas had not won a single race all year.
However, it wasn’t that Bottas was uncompetitive compared to his 4-time world champion teammate. In fact, he was in a similar position of leading the race on a few occasions. Sadly, poor luck would be the main factor denying him the top step.
A perfect example would be the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. The Finn was primed to take victory, his first of the season. Unfortunately, 2 laps from the finish, he ran over a stray piece of debris and picked up a puncture.
After Azerbaijan, Sochi offered him the best chance to snatch a maiden win. But now, it seems that the team has cruelly snatched it away from his grasp. Mercedes team principal, Toto Wolff initially said that implementing team orders would be difficult with Bottas on pole. But now, they seem to be contradicting themselves their their actions today.
In this race, Bottas was hunting down Max Verstappen when the order came. So, he promptly slowed, almost to a standstill and allowed Hamilton past. Afterwards, on the podium, Lewis Hamilton himself admitted that the win ‘did not feel great’. He knew that Bottas deserved the win and it was unfair to snatch it away like that.
Even Wolff came on the radio to console Bottas, promising to discuss the situation properly. The question now is, can Bottas actually score his maiden win of 2018?