‘Mercedes owe drivers equal opportunity’


Despite issuing team orders in Bahrain in Lewis Hamilton’s favour, Toto Wolff insists Mercedes will give both drivers “equal opportunity” – at least at the start of the race.

Although Valtteri Bottas started Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix from pole position, the Finn soon found himself behind Sebastian Vettel and with Hamilton on his rear wing.

He was asked to move over for his team-mate and did so with Hamilton chasing down the Ferrari driver only to fall short.

Mercedes had to settle for second and third on the day with questions raised about whether team order could come into play now that Ferrari are in the fight.

“We don’t like that, at all,” said motorsport boss Wolff.

“It’s not what we have done in the last couple of years but the situation is different now so it needs a proper analysis of what it means and where we are.

“We’d like to give equal opportunity at the start of the race, I think we owe it to them.

“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.”

Wolff reiterated that Ferrari’s resurgence coupled with the fact that Bottas trails Hamilton by 23 points would be taken into consideration in future calls.

“That is the interesting question that we need to analyse at the moment,” he added.