Heading into this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas trails World Championship leader by Max Verstappen by 85.5 points, and is 80.5 adrift of teammate Lewis Hamilton.
The Finn took 18 and 16 points out of Hamilton and Verstappen respectively after winning the sprint event at Monza and coming from the back to finish P3 on Sunday as the two title contenders didn’t see the flag following their clash in the first chicane.
With Bottas still realistically out of contention, he says he would accept team orders to help Hamilton’s cause as the Brit aims for an eighth Drivers’ World Championship. There is already history of it in Sochi as he was asked to move out of the way three years ago to gift Hamilton the victory.
“We have discussed many things internally, including different scenarios,” said the 32-year-old on Thursday.
“There could be times that we need to play as a team, and I need to take one for the team. And in this situation, how the situation is, yes I would do it because we’re here as a team and need to make sure we win both titles. Not only the constructors’ championship but also the drivers’. At the moment, Lewis has a greater chance for that – that’s the situation.”
Bottas is unsure if he can still fight for the title, even if he wanted to. Nonetheless, the Finnish driver has one goal on his mind: winning this weekend. He’s already a two-time winner at the Sochi venue, including his first win in F1 back in 2017.
“In Formula 1 you never know how the season progresses, there is still a fair amount of races. So never say never,” he said.
“The only thing I will keep doing is try my best, try to win races, try to be as consistent as I can to bring the points. And [regarding] if I’m allowed? I don’t know really. You need to ask Toto. But for sure, it’s still a reasonable gap in the points.
“At least earlier on in the season, I felt like I wasn’t really any more allowed for contention, but you never know, we go race by race. For me personally coming here to this track, the only thinking in my mind is winning. It’s all that matters to me – and that’s my approach this weekend.”