Toto Wolff said ordering Valtteri Bottas to move aside for Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton at the Russian Grand Prix was a “struggle between our head and our heart”. In fact, the German manufacturer even won the first two races held in Russian Federation way back in 1913 and 1914.
“I wasn’t a genius in maths – but it’s not getting easier if we lose points”, he said. The season would end with both drivers tied on 381 points but Vettel would get the championship courtesy of more wins throughout the season (10-8).
“I still believe in our chances, yes”, he said.
“It takes one DNF (did not finish) and then all of a sudden things look different”, he told reporters after Sochi.
“I was waiting to get some news or something like that, but I knew that the team wanted it to end that way”.
“Right from Friday, the Sochi weekend was rather a hard one for us”, he said.
The German now has 256 points to Hamilton’s 306. He will need to outscore Vettel by at least 25 points over the course of the next race, which is the Japanese Grand Prix, and the United States Grand Prix to do so.
“Somebody needs to be the baddie some times and it’s me today”, Wolff told reporters.
‘This season we have seen that it comes in waves, so you can not take our Russian Federation performance for granted and say this is what we expect to go on for the remainder of the season’.
The Toro Rosso driver’s race ended prematurely due to suspected brake failure but not before an object that came off Daniel Ricciardo’s damaged Red Bull hit him.
Wolff said: “We found ourselves in the tricky situation after leaving Lewis out one lap too long in the pit stops, which brought him out behind Sebastian [Vettel]”.
It was Hamilton’s fifth win in six races and Mercedes’ third one-two finish this year. “Valtteri deserved to win. but today it was a real team effort”, Formula One quoted Hamilton, as saying.
Wolff said he had also spent a sleepless night, mindful of the global controversy triggered when Ferrari ordered Brazilian Rubens Barrichello to cede the lead to team mate Michael Schumacher in Austria in 2002.
Whiting explained that the request for an altered DRS zone was made during the drivers’ briefing and thus too late to be implemented. “The worst case was the blister wouldn’t last until the end and Lewis would have been overtaken by Sebastian having to manage his tyres”.