Bottas defends decision to ignore team orders

Valtteri Bottas has defended his decision not to let teammate Lewis Hamilton pass easily at the Spanish Grand Prix despite being told to move over by his Mercedes team.

Differing strategies resulted in Bottas and Hamilton racing over the same piece of track in the final third of the grand prix, after Hamilton made a second pit stop earlier than the other front runners, dropping him from second place to third behind Bottas.

Mercedes radioed Bottas to tell him Hamilton was coming through, and with Hamilton targeting victory by catching Verstappen a further ten seconds down the road, urged the Finn not to hold up his teammate.

But Bottas was trying to maintain his own pace in order to create a big enough margin over Ferrari's Charles Leclerc in fourth place to make a second pit stop and retain third position.

Hamilton spent nearly half a lap bottled up behind Bottas, costing him roughly a second to Verstappen, before passing his teammate under braking at Turn 10.

"I definitely could have let him by earlier but I was doing my own race as well," Bottas told Sky Sports after the race.

"It's always calculating things and I was trying to get Charles out of my pit window so I could stop again and go for an extra point [for fastest lap] so the main thing in my mind was my own race.

"They [the team] told me not to hold him up too much. Like I said, I was also doing my race and I am not here to let people by, I am here to race.

"That's how it goes."

Despite the hold up, Hamilton went on to catch and pass Verstappen for the lead of the race, allowing him to take victory by a comfortable margin.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said he understood why Bottas was not willing to cede the position easily, but said he would have a friendly discussion on the issue before the next race.

"With racing drivers, their instincts are what they are, and maybe we would have wished -- because Lewis was on a totally different strategy -- that he could have driven past a bit quicker, but at the end we still scored the result.

"I can relate to Valtteri that he had a tough day again and was annoyed. If it had lost us the race, I would be more critical but in the end it is something we can learn off.

"It goes both directions and this is what we will be discussing with him in a very camaraderie-like way."

Hamilton said there were no hard feelings and revealed he had not expected Bottas to move out the way when he approached his teammate.

"I think we're the best teammates, so honestly I didn't know that he had a message and in my mind I was like 'we're racing' and that's totally fine for me, particularly early on in this part of the season," Hamilton said.

"So in my mind, I was thinking I've got to get close and hope for an overtake, but then obviously when we went into turn ten, we were on massively different strategies so I was going to get him at some stage because I had much better tyres.

"We were going into Turn 10 and I thought there was a gap there and I wasn't quite sure and then there was a gap and Valtteri was completely fair, I wouldn't lose too much time but this is how we win as a team.

"Sometimes we're in that position where you've got to put the team first and getting a second and a third is good but getting a first is obviously max points and that's key."