Published: Thu, April 20, 2017
Sport | By Scott Davis

Mercedes boss admits team orders call wasn't easy to make

Mercedes boss admits team orders call wasn't easy to make

Mercedes made a decision to pit both its drivers under the safety auto.

Vettel's margin of victory over Hamilton under the floodlights of the Sakhir Circuit was 6.6 seconds. Ferrari did a better job. "I kept having to be fed what times he was doing so I could try to match and he was closing the gap a little bit, but I managed to stay ahead". Today, I lost a position at the start - exclusively my fault - and then you've got the time lost in the pit lane.

After Ferrari pitted the German early, Mercedes attempted to pit Bottas and Hamilton together after the Safety Car was deployed.

It allowed everyone to make their stops, but forced Mercedes to "double stack", whereby Hamilton was left to wait in the pitlane until the team completed Bottas' stop. Vettel went for the pit-stop early in the race in the 10th lap and had 24.702 seconds (3.1 sec pit-stop) in the pit area.

As Sunday's race was drawing to a close under floodlights, Hamilton was catching fast but ran out of time and finished nearly seven seconds behind Vettel. But with the five-second penalty, that made it twice as hard than it was already going to be. "This was my fault".

"You have two cars starting on the front row, if they run second and first you just have to let them race".

"I got hit from the side", the Williams rookie exclaimed.

"We came here with a specific goal, so it was positive to get on top of that with the team". "I apologise to the team for losing that time there..."

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas, who had earned his maiden pole position for the race, finished third while Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen was fourth.

"The beginning for us to be that close was great".

"For sure, I did it because there was potential that Lewis could challenge Sebastian", said Bottas.

"In the first stint the tire pressures were too high and I felt like I was driving on marbles all the time, but for the other two stints there's not yet an explanation for why the rear end wasn't working and I had a slow pace". Vettel then set off after Bottas, while Hamilton followed, chased in turn by Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bulls.

For his Mercedes teammate there was also disappointment - the Finn unable to convert his first F1 pole into a long-overdue first win.

"A unusual race for me missing so much pace". The only goal was the victory. I just didn't have enough pace today and we need to find the reasons for that.

"I am not really looking at the championship".

"I tried to control the gap - he was very fast when he came out, I expected him to be quicker but not that quick", added Vettel.

"Three-hundred meters behind me and they overtake me on the straight", Alonso told his team over the radio midway through the race.

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