Valtteri Bottas does not want Mercedes to offer him a win in return for handing Lewis Hamilton victory in Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix.
Leading the race from pole position, Bottas moved over for his championship-leading teammate and duly finished second despite having yet to win a race himself this year. After speaking with team principal Toto Wolff about the team order, Bottas says he understands why his role is different while he isn’t in title contention but doesn’t want a win handed to him in return.
“We had a chat afterwards; I am not expecting anything back from the team,” Bottas said. “If and when I win, I want to win like I have earned it. If I step into their shoes it’s a tough one but obviously for me as a person, as an athlete, it’s not ideal. It is what it it is now, that’s how it goes.
“I think for me it was taking one for the team. For sure, I am a racer — the only thing I want to do is win races but I also want to play for the team. In the end, for this year, if we look at the championship there’s nothing I can really achieve that matters to me, so that’s why I am looking forward to next year.”
Bottas acknowledges his own form this season is the reason he is not in the championship fight at this stage, and therefore had an impact on being asked to help Hamilton.
“I think the team was worried about the blister Lewis had. He would lose second place to Sebastian (Vettel) and that wouldn’t be ideal for both of the championships, so I think that was the worry but I think in the end it proved that actually it wasn’t that bad.
“If you put yourself into the shoes of Toto or any team leader it’s not easy to decide those things. For sure they also think about me, think about Lewis, as a driver, as a person, but they need to make a call to get the best outcome of the weekend.
“Just the way the season has gone put us into this situation and it happened because of many races before. It’s a shame. I haven’t won a race this season and obviously (Sunday) was a possibility but like I said, I think for me the main thing is to remind how the performance was this weekend.”