Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas has admitted that he could have made things easier for Sir Lewis Hamilton when the seven-time World Champion was trying to overtake him during the Spanish Grand Prix.
Hamilton and Bottas were on different strategies, and with the Brit fighting Max Verstappen for the lead of the race, Mercedes instructed Bottas not to hold his team-mate up as he was approaching him on a set of new tyres.
However, Bottas opted not to let Hamilton by and the seven-time World Champion had to overtake him by diving up his inside at Turn 10.
Speaking after the race, which Bottas finished in P3, the Finn said he is in Formula 1 to race, not to let people by without a fight.
“I definitely could have let him by earlier,” Bottas said in a post-race interview.
“But I was doing my own race, so there is always a moment to calculate things and I was trying to get Charles [Leclerc] out of the pit window so I could stop again and try and go for an extra point [with the fastest lap of the race].
“So the main thing in my mind was my own race.
“There wasn’t that much [talk over the team radio]. They told me not to hold him up too much but, like I said, I was also doing my race. I’m not here to let people by…I’m here to race,” he added.
Bottas started the race in P3 but was unable to challenge Hamilton or Verstappen up front as his race was compromised by Charles Leclerc overtaking him on the first lap.
“What made it more tricky was I lost a place to Charles at lap one. He chose a better line through Turn 3,” he noted.
“That compromised the race a bit. It’s a bit of a shame but I’m pleased to make it to the podium.”