Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Bottas 'understands' team orders decision

Bottas Hamilton bahrain lat Bottas 'understands' team orders decision
Frederick Owens | 01 May, 2017, 14:55

Hamilton will have the chance to make up for his mistake in Bahrain during the fourth race of the 2017 Formula One season, which will take place in Sochi at the Russian Grand Prix on April 30.

The Finn had started on pole position, a career first, but tyre pressure problems at the start and a general lack of pace left him struggling to challenge Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel after the German had taken the lead. Kimi Raikkonen of Ferrari suffered through a slow pit stop and came out in 10th place, it added. The same strategy was adopted by the two Red Bulls as well. Kevin Magnussen and Marcus Ericsson both also retired, whilst Max Verstappen crashed into the barriers after a brake failure.

"It was the last half of the out lap when all the fireworks were going off I was like, "I love what I do", said Vettel, who was helped by the safety auto being deployed after his first pit stop with the Mercedes duo still out.

The safety auto prompted many cars to pit including the two Mercedes who chose to stack their drivers. The British driver made a decision to slow down his vehicle during pit entry, in order to give enough time to the crew to attend to his team mate.

Mercedes by contrast completed 97 laps and Hamilton was fastest on the day at 1min 31.358sec ahead of Antonio Giovinazzi for Ferrari at 1min 31.984sec and Daniel Ricciardo for Red Bull at 1m 32.349sec.

For most of the remainder of the race, Vettel held a commanding lead.

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With Hamilton closing what had started out as a 19-second gap by anything up to 1.5 seconds per lap, a grand-stand finish looked in prospect.

Turvey returned to the track for the concluding hour and completed a further 15 laps, but he was almost four seconds adrift of Hamilton's best lap and slowest of all the 12 times set. There was some pit stop incongruity between the top finishers, but ultimately Vettel ran a quick race and was stuck to the back of Bottas before any pits were taken.

Despite twice being let through by team-mate Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton was unable to chase down Vettel and had to settle for second, finishing 6.6 seconds behind the Ferrari driver.

The team won all but two races last season but are no longer dominant in a championship that has for the past three years been an internal battle.

Felipe Massa finished sixth for Williams, a well-received Easter Sunday birthday gift for team boss Sir Frank Williams who is 75, with Sergio Perez taking seventh for Force India.

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