Thursday, 27 April, 2017

Mercedes consider team orders to stop F1 threat of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel

Vettel victories could force a Mercedes rethink Mercedes consider team orders to stop F1 threat of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel
Nellie Chapman | 21 April, 2017, 20:00

A dejected Lewis Hamilton proclaimed he does not exist to finish second after a number of mistakes in Bahrain allowed Sebastian Vettel to steal the early march in this year's championship fight.

Lewis Hamilton has apologised to his Mercedes team following an error in the pit lane which cost him a chance to win the Bahrain Grand Prix this afternoon. "Then you see what we did in the race, we made the call, we made the call twice, because we felt it was the only possibility of winning the race".

Hamilton apologised to Mercedes for damaging his own chances by earning a five-second penalty for deliberately slowing Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo as they pitted for fresh tyres under a safety vehicle early in the race.

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas has admitted that it was hard to accept being asked to move aside for team mate Lewis Hamilton during Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix and was disappointed by the same.

Hamilton slowed nearly to a crawl as he entered the pits with Ricciardo behind, resulting in the penalty from the marshalls, which he took at his second pit stop, rejoining in third spot.

Britain's triple world champion should have been closer to Vettel, but was hit with a five-second penalty by the stewards for blocking Daniel Ricciardo on the entrance to the pits.

When the racing began again on the seventeenth lap, Vettel was at the head of the order, followed closely by Bottas.

Bottas concedes the opening three rounds have been a fair reflection on the general pace of the front-runners, with Mercedes on top in qualifying before losing out to Ferrari on race pace. "I had a good feeling yesterday already, and it was just confirmed today".

Bahrain was Bottas' first career pole position, whereas Hamilton has 63 and could sail past Schumacher's record of 68 later in the year.

Hamilton managed to recover from that setback as he got past Ricciardo and Bottas, but could not catch up to the race leader in time. "All I can say is that I gave it everything I could".

“We finally have a competitive auto to count on and it is important to recognize the speed with which we implemented the developments, ” Marchionne said.

"I don't know the exact amount but it was more than one PSI", said Bottas of the extent to which the tyre pressures were wrong for the start.

"I didn't have enough pace today and we need to find the reasons why".

McLaren's nightmare continued with Belgian Stoffel Vandoorne failing to start and Fernando Alonso retiring on the final laps but classified 14th.

"A unusual race for me missing so much pace". “Losing points for the team is definitely painful.”.