SOCHI, Russia – So, Valtteri Bottas pipped Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton to pole position for the start of today’s (Sept 30) 2018 Russian F1 Grand Prix. Question now is: will there be a change to the team orders which have governed recent races?
Hamilton is 40 points ahead of rival Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, who qualified third on the grid and is 110 points clear of Bottas. Reuters comments that Mercedes cannot afford any leniency for the Italians – and is perhaps terrified of its drivers jousing for position int the first corner.
Or any of the others, for that matter.
‘I NEED TO CALCULATE MORE’
Mercedes’ team boss Toto Wolff has made the situation requires some management. He’s reported as saying: “We’re not in a part of the season where I would particularly enjoy two Mercedes cars racing each other at the front.
“I hate to say that as a race fan but I need to calculate a little bit more.”
Hamilton has said he doesn’t want any favours; Bottas wants to be more than what has been described as ”a wingman” but Hamilton has won seven GP’s, Bottas… none.
Wolff added in an interview: “Lewis wouldn’t want it – he wants to give it a go on his own. Valtteri won’t want it because he needs the win.”
HOW QUALI PANNED OUT
Wikipedia reminds us, however: The fourth running of the Russian GP (2017) was won by Valtteri Bottas, 0.617sec ahead of Vettel. Hamilton was fourth, 36sec behind the winner.
Here’s how they finished a year earlier: