Nobody likes team orders in Formula 1. We all want to see the best driver on the day, the one who deserves it, take the win.
That is even more the case when a team order helps out the championship leader and makes the final five races less interesting to watch, at the expense of a driver who has yet to take a victory in 2018.
That’s exactly what happened in Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix. Mercedes’ decision to impose team orders leaves Lewis Hamilton with a 50-point advantage over rival Sebastian Vettel, after Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas let him through to win.
It was a controversial moment for Mercedes, and Bottas was heard questioning it on the radio afterwards, but it’s a move I fully understand in the context of trying to win this year’s drivers’ title. As much as it was a shame for Bottas, and for the race, it was the obvious thing to do.
Bottas clearly deserved the win, or at least a fair crack at it. He took an excellent pole, made a superb start and led on merit through the pit stops, and was controlling the pace after that.