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For Bottas the honeymoon is over

NEWS STORY
17/04/2017

Just 24-hours after the elation of scoring his first ever F1 pole, the harsh reality of life at Mercedes hit Valtteri Bottas full-on when he was ordered to move aside for his teammate.

His demeanour and comments on the podium and in the subsequent press conference said it all.

"As a racing driver it's maybe the worst thing you want to hear," he said of the order to yield to his teammate. "That's how it is.

"I did it because there was potential," he continued. "Lewis could challenge Sebastian.

"In the end it didn't happen but the team tried which I completely understand, personally it is tough but that's life. I didn't have enough pace today and we need to find the reasons why that was."

The Finn - whose 'glum and glummer' podium face was reminiscent of Daniel Ricciardo on the Monaco podium last year - was struggling for grip and with Sebastian Vettel heading off into the distance, along with the lead in the drivers' championship, Hamilton called on the team to allow him to pass Bottas and attack the German, the Briton insisting that if he were unable to pass Vettel he would hand the position back to his Mercedes teammate.

Bottas had struggled throughout the race, his first stint compromised by a generator fault which meant he was running incorrect tyre pressures. Running on abnormally high pressure the Finn said it was like driving on marbles, the car sliding around as early as lap 2.

While he was able to challenge Vettel after the Safety Car period, having pitted for fresh rubber, as the race wore on he struggled for pace as he suffered issues with his rear tyres.

However, more than being unable to convert his pole in to a win, more than being told to yield to his teammate, the big issue facing the Finn right now is that as Vettel and Ferrari get their act together, Mercedes is going to have to throw all its resources behind its main hope of beating the German and his Italian team, Hamilton.

Admitting it had been a "tough call", and aware that at some time soon a decision will need to be made whereby either Hamilton is given the all-clear as team leader or not, Toto Wolff said: "I don't want to pre-empt what the consequence will be or if there will be a consequence and what it will mean for the championship. It is a question Ferrari needs to ask themselves as well.

"We don't like it at all," he admitted. "It is not what we have done the past couple of years. But the situation is different now. So it needs a proper analysis what it means and where we are."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Bahrain, here.

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1. Posted by hussainahm, 17/04/2017 11:07

"Lewis was the (much) quicker driver and having crossed the line 14 seconds ahead of Valtteri I don't feel he should give the position back because without team orders Lewis would have overtaken Valtteri eventually. Valtteri just had a bad race for whatever reasons, tyres being one of them."

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