Toto Wolff has downplayed the importance of the team orders enforced by the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team during the German Grand Prix, with Valtteri Bottas being told not to fight with Lewis Hamilton as they ran first and second in the closing stages.
With Sebastian Vettel out of the race after crashing into the barriers, Wolff felt it was important to maximise the points haul for Mercedes and put a first-ever one-two finish in Germany at risk by enforcing the team orders, with James Vowles giving the orders that saw Bottas fall in behind Hamilton.
“First of all we didn’t have the quickest car here and we need to progress for the next races because that is the most important,” said Wolff to Sky Sports F1. “It was still raining at the time and the fight was so intense.
“There was all to lose with the bad luck that we had in the last races, and we wanted to keep it calm at that stage.”
Wolff said there was too much at stake to allow Hamilton and Bottas to fight wheel-to-wheel in the closing stages, particularly with Vettel out of the race, and he says the same call would have been made had the positions been reversed.
“With so much at stake, and after the misfortune of recent weeks, we took the call to tell Valtteri to hold position; it would have been the same if the cars had been the other way round, too, because we needed to protect the one-two and avoid losing one or both cars,” said Wolff.
The result in Germany saw Hamilton return to the top of the Drivers’ Championship standings ahead of Vettel, with the Briton seventeen points ahead of the German, while Mercedes are back in front in the Constructors’ Championship as well, eight points ahead of Scuderia Ferrari.