Wolff says he is 'the baddie' in 'team orders' controversy

Marcus Newton
October 5, 2018

Hamilton, whose lead over Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel in the standings is now 50 points heading into the Japanese Grand Prix this weekend, said he was "the most conflicted I have ever been" after taking the chequered flag in Sochi in such a manner. You never know what happens.

"I'd rather be the baddie today than the idiot at the end of the year", he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who sat next to former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone after a late arrival at the Sochi Autodrom, saw the Briton make the most of Mercedes' strategy and a thrilling passing move on Vettel.

Hamilton will take part in the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, the first of five remaining races, with a 50-point lead over Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel after Mercedes used team orders in Russian Federation.

His win was not without controversy, though, given that the Mercedes team instructed Valtteri Bottas to swap positions with his team-mate during the middle of the race.

Hamilton gained an extra seven points meaning he can now afford to finish second at the final races and still claim his fifth world championship. But Hamilton was quick to respond and was in Vettel's slipstream two laps later on the run Turn 2, eventually passing the Ferrari driver on the inside of Turn 4.

"I don't know, we're a bit behind in pure speed, but in the race the auto feels OK".

Given the points lead Hamilton had built up to this stage, it was an unnecessary switch, he would have still come away 43 points clear with a second-place finish - a comfortable margin with five races remaining.

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"It's honestly the strangest day I can remember having in the sport in my career", said reigning world champion Hamilton.

But Vettel, who began the season with back-to-back victories, also knows he needs a huge slice of luck to stand any chance of halting Hamilton's charge to the title. I think every one of us was facing this struggle between our head and our heart on Sunday.

Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth for Ferrari ahead of Red Bull's Max Verstappen who marked his 21st birthday with a rousing drive, including a spell as race leader, from 19th on the grid.

"I go race by race", said Vettel.

Normally we go through everything before the race, all the scenarios, and how we would react to those things.

That gap would have only been 43 points had Mercedes not asked Valtteri Bottas to let Hamilton pass him for the lead on Lap 25.

"Lewis had to fight hard to overtake Sebastian, which was really an awesome move, but blistered the tyres".

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