Mercedes steers Hamilton to win

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TEAM ORDERS: Bottas was forced to make way for championship leader Hamilton. Credit: @F1/Twitter

LEWIS Hamilton says winning thanks to team orders left him feeling “the most conflicted I have ever been.”

Mercedes ordered team-mate Valterri Bottas to let Hamilton by in Russia, after pressure from Hamilton’s title rival Sebastian Vettel.

Hamilton’s victory gives him a 50 point advantage over Ferrari driver Vettel in the championship, with a maximum of only 125 available over the remaining five races.

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The Briton said:

“The racer inside me wants it to be the other way around.

“The ruthless killer instinct inside me says: This is the way it should be, stop being so soft. This is the way it needs to be.”

Mercedes’ decision was backed by Vettel, who said:

“What they did today and the way they played together as a team makes complete sense.

“It’s a bit dull for the race but it makes sense.”

However, Bottas could not hide his frustration and commented that the decision was “confusing” and that he was not prepared for it.

He said: “I had the pace for victory and the ability this weekend.

“I am a racer and I just want to win races. At the moment it is a bit painful but I do it for the team.”

Bottas added that he expected the same thing to happen again if the two driver are in the same positions again before the championship is decided.

Toto Wolff said that the team made the call because they were worried Hamilton could lose second place to Vettel, having blistered his tyres.

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