Technical Director with Mercedes AMG Petronas, James Allison, has said that the race at Sochi was “tough”, compared to the gap during Qualifying.
Lewis Hamilton won the race, in the wake of a controversial move where team-mate Valtteri Bottas was told to move over.
“After the margin of yesterday’s qualifying that was a really, really tough race.”
Allison suggested that the team did not expect the pace of rival Scuderia Ferrari.
“The pace of the Ferrari put us under pressure all the way through the first stint, and we rather fumbled things as a consequence, allowing us to lose the pace to Sebastian [Vettel] at the first stop,” said Allison.
“Lewis [Hamilton] spared our blushes and put things back on an even keel for us.
“But a little later in the race we got into a degree of difficulty once again when Lewis followed Valtteri [Bottas] quite closely from behind, damaging his rear tyres.”
Allison said that the race was bittersweet for the team, due to the team orders which were implemented to ensure Hamilton’s continued lead in the Championship.
“With Valtteri in front and on rubber that was working well, we took the very difficult decision allow Lewis to go in front and have a car with good rubber protecting the one-two that would come our way if we would just look after the tyres to the finish.”
“And that’s what happened in the end, but it was a desperately difficult day for Valtteri. He took his disappointment like a Trojan, but I could see standing next to him on the podium that it was hurting him,” said Allison.