Wolff grilled on Mercedes team orders


Mercedes boss Toto Wolff was reluctant to name Valtteri Bottas as the team's second driver despite the Finn being told to let Lewis Hamilton pass him in Bahrain.

Hamilton was trying to atone for his five-second penalty and chase down race leader Sebastian Vettel, but he needed Bottas to move out of the way in order for him to do so.

Wolff was quizzed about the team orders after the race, but would not confirm that this situation would be a sign of things to come just yet.

"We tried to maintain the order and not interfere because it is an awful call you need to make," Wolff told Sky Sports F1.

"We're only three races into the season so it is totally unfair to Valtteri to discuss it further.

"It's a very difficult decision [to name a clear one and two driver], a very tough call and I don't want to make it yet.

"You guys are grilling me. I'm really raw after a race so let me off the hook!"

As for the title fight with Ferrari, Wolff believes there is very little to choose between the Scuderia and the Silver Arrows.

He said: "We are very evenly matched. Maybe over a single lap we have a tiny little bit of a gap but maybe Ferrari are looking after the tyres better.

"You can't really judge just based on today as you don't know what the outcome would've been if Hamilton managed to get out in front at the beginning of the race."

Asked whether Hamilton's penalty was to blame for the Mercedes defeat, Wolff thought the lack of pace at the start was more detrimental to their chances.

He added: "When you look back there were a lot of little mistakes but the main thing was that in the beginning we couldn't drive with the pace that the car had.