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Mercedes to implement team orders?

Mercedes have dominated the new V6 Turbo-Hybrid era of Formula One for the past three seasons.

The German manufacturer have had little competition from the likes of Ferrari and Red Bull Racing and as such allowed their drivers to race for the title head-to-head, well kind of.

British driver Lewis Hamilton took back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015, comprehensively beating team-mate Nico Rosberg.

In 2016, Nico Rosberg took his maiden title and immediately retired following a fortuitous season where he experience none of the reliability issues that Hamilton's season had been plagued with.

In all three seasons the drivers were allowed to race wheel-to-wheel which resulted in a few controversial collisions between the pair, but the advantage the team had over their rivals allowed them to race in such a manner.

The two were never allowed to race split tyre strategies however and this continued into the 2017 season with Hamilton and new team-mate Valterri Bottas.

Arguably this cost Mercedes a shot at victory in Bahrain, as the German side gave tyre strategy advantage to pole winner Bottas, despite a lack of pace during the first stage of the Grand Prix due to an error in tyre pressures.

This hindered Hamilton's chances, even before he received a five-second penalty a safety car misdemeanour's.

In the end Mercedes had to ask Bottas to allow the much faster Hamilton past him, not once but twice.

Something which would have been hard for the Finn to take in only his third race for the team, but also following the first pole position of his career.

ďAs a racing driver it's the worst thing you want to hear, but thatís life, I understand the team completely on that. They had the opportunity at the end of the day to get some extra points for the team and fight for the victory.

ďSo yes I see the point, but still itís tough when youíre on pole and trying to win a race. But Iím definitely a team player so I wouldnít say no to that [team order].Ē
Bottas told formula1.com.

The problem now is if he is likely to hear it more and more frequently.

After three races, the 2017 Formula One World Championship appears to be a neck-and-neck battle between Mercedes and Ferrari, with Sebastian Vettel pushing Lewis Hamilton hard.

The four-time Formula One World Champion is leading the three-time Formula One World Champion by 7 points, whilst Bottas is already a further 23 points adrift.

Do Mercedes need to concentrate their efforts on Hamilton already?

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has failed to rule it out.

'We don't like that. At all. It's not what we have done in the last couple of years, But the situation is different now [now Ferrari are challenging], so it needs a proper analysis what it means and where we are. It's a very tough call and I don't want to discuss it yet because it's not fair to Valtteri.' he told Sky Sports.








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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday April 19 2017

Time: 11:00AM

 

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