Lewis rules out repaying Bottas with win

Formula 1

Lewis Hamilton is not planning to orchestrate a victory for teammate Valtteri Bottas at the Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend if the two drivers find themselves leading the race.

Bottas was leading September’s Russian Grand Prix when he was asked by the Mercedes team to move over and gift victory to Hamilton. The decision was taken in order to help Hamilton protect his championship lead from title rival Sebastian Vettel, who was running third at the time, but proved controversial among fans.

Now Hamilton’s fifth world title is secure, it has been suggested that he could give a victory back to Bottas if he finds himself leading his teammate on track. But ahead of this weekend’s race in Sao Paulo, he ruled out such a scenario.

“The team are not going to make that call,” he said. “It’s not something I’ve asked Valtteri if he wants, but I don’t think he’s going to want that. He’s going to want to win it in his own way.

“So I don’t think I’ll be doing him any favours in the sense of giving him a win, I don’t think he needs that — I think he thinks he can do it himself.

“All I can do is try and make sure I’m supportive throughout the weekend. I’m always really open with my set-up, so I’ll continue to do so.”

Bottas confirmed he had no desire to win a race through team orders.

“Yes, I definitely don’t want to win if it’s given to me,” he said. “I want to win by doing it by myself.”

But Brazil will be the first race in a long time in which Mercedes will not ask Bottas to make way for his teammate if they are fighting for position — a factor that gives the Finn extra motivation.

“Yes, definitely. Coming here knowing that there is a possibility to win a race is obviously a good feeling. You all know what my goal will be for this weekend, so it’s going to be up to me and I need to perform at my best level to fight for the win.”

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