“I definitely could have let him by earlier,” admits Bottas about Hamilton overtake in Spain

The Briton, who ended up winning the race, had the pace to catch up Max Verstappen but lost some time battling his teammate

By Yuri Coghe
Hamilton passed Bottas for P2 on lap 52 on his way to win the Spanish Grand Prix on Sunday (Photo: F1/Twitter)

Lewis Hamilton’s road to claim a fifth-straight victory at the Spanish Grand Prix had a small domestic dent on lap 52.

When the Briton caught on to teammate Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes issued a team order for the Finn to make way, the overtake for the second place wasn’t the smoothest switching of places.

Bottas took a while to let #44 through, causing Hamilton to lose time in the middle of pursuing Verstappen for the lead. While the delay didn’t hurt Hamilton’s race as he took on Verstappen eight laps later for P1, the Finn’s actions didn’t go unnoticed.

“I definitely could have let him by earlier,” said Bottas after the race, “but I was doing my own race as well.”

“It’s always calculating things. I was trying to get Charles (Leclerc) off the pit window so I could stop again and try to go for an extra point (with the fastest lap). So the main thing in my mind was my own race.”

The Spanish Grand Prix fastest lap ended up with Max Verstappen, his first of the season. The Dutch driver pitted after being overtaken by Hamilton to set a 1.18s149 lap time.

“They told me not to hold me up too much but, like I said, I was also doing my race,” continued Bottas. “I’m not here to let people by, I’m here to race, so that’s how it goes.”

Further listening: PODCAST l The Chicane Crew Podcast reviews the Spanish Grand Prix

Bottas, who moved to third in the drivers’ championship after the race in Barcelona, toned it down later when speaking in a press conference.

“Of course, as a racing driver you prioritize yourself and your race, but also we work as a team and you don’t want to ruin that for the team if it’s possible and it’s not for you. I think in the end it was kind of OK,” said the 31-year-old Finnish driver.

Hamilton was also asked about the instance, claiming him and Bottas are “the best team-mates.”

“I honestly didn’t know he had a message so in my mind I was like we’re racing. Valtteri was completely fair. I hope I didn’t lose him too much time,” said the drivers’ championship leader.

“This is how we win as a team. We are sometimes in the position where we have got to put the team first. Getting a second and a third is good but getting a first is the most points and that is key.”

Bottas has been in the centre of demotion rumours lately, but have denied he is worried about being replaced in the middle of the 2021 season.

Read more:

“No Further Action”: Stroll and Alonso evade Spanish GP penalties for turn 1 incident
Salut Gilles: Formula 1 world praises Canadian legend Gilles Villeneuve 39 years after his death

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