Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport‘s Chief Race Engineer Andrew Shovlin says Valtteri Bottas showed ‘class and professionalism’ when given orders to not attack Lewis Hamilton for victory at the German Grand Prix.
Mercedes achieved an unthinkable one-two yesterday at the Hockenheimring when Hamilton fought his way through the field after starting in fourteenth and claimed victory whilst title rival Sebastian Vettel crashed out of the race whilst leading.
The Silver arrows were on the back foot against the Scuderia Ferrari‘s throughout the weekend but with the tricky conditions enabled them to close on them as the Italian team started to struggle, allowing Bottas to pass Kimi Räikkönen for second place in the latter part of the race.
Hamilton however stayed out long on the Soft tyres he started on in a hope the rain would arrive, but pitted in for the ultrasoft tyres and opted to stay out during the safety car period in the final moments of the race.
Mercedes’ chief race engineer Andrew Shovlin says he didn’t expect a one-two result to come on their home track after what happened to Hamilton during qualifying.
“After yesterday we were wondering when our luck was going to change but we’d never expected today’s race to go the way it did. To finish with a 1-2 at one of our home races is amazing, this weekend will be one of those that stays in your memory for ever.” said Shovlin.
“It’s easy to underestimate how difficult it is to stay on track in those conditions on dry tyres so well done to both drivers who made today’s result possible.
“Valtteri’s race was panning out as we’d expected to Vettel. The dry situation wasn’t very exciting as it was all about driving to tyre temperature limits and as a result Valtteri couldn’t really put the Ferrari under pressure.
“The second stint was more promising, Vettel was losing time with Kimi and the traffic and it seemed like Valtteri’s tyres were in better condition which helped when the rain started to fall which was helping us close further.
“Lewis’s plan worked very nicely in the conditions, he did a great job of looking after his tyres in the early traffic and was able to push the stop very late. We decided to fit new Ultras on lap 42 as we could see the rain coming but wanted to be on new tyres when it came as we felt we could ride out the first shower on dries. This paid dividends as he was able to really close on the lead in the difficult conditions.”
With ten laps to go, Bottas made a charge for the lead of the race against Hamilton but was given instructions by the team not to engage with Lewis, which Bottas obeyed.
Shovlin has praised the Finn for following orders, saying that he showed professionalism when given the order and hopes that he will win a race this season soon.
“The safety car created the race winning opportunity for Lewis, he had the best tyres of anyone so staying out was not an issue. Valtteri needed fresh tyres to restart so his stop was necessary. It wasn’t a clean stop but luckily it didn’t end up costing a position.” Shovlin continued.
“After the restart we’d asked the drivers to hold position in the closing stages as the conditions were so tricky and we have to think about both championships given how close our fight is with Ferrari.
“It’s never a nice call for a driver to hear but Valtteri showed his class and professionalism today and I hope we can see him on the top step soon. “