Formula 1: Cheers to the Nebensitzer

Formula 1: Cheers to the Nebensitzer

After the stall order from Sochi, they let themselves in at Mercedes before the race in Suzuka. Valtteri Bottas says, "I would do it again."


By Elmar Brümmer, Suzuka

The finger, which lies on the red button labeled "Tactics", shuddering for a moment, and then pressed, has become the symbol of a supposed scandal in Formula One. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff had an influence on the tactics of his team last Sunday, the race result in the Grand Prix of Russia – and also on the World Cup. Valtteri Bottas, who until then was ahead of Lewis Hamilton, was instructed by the strategists to let the title candidate pass. The Finn parried well before turn 13. And thanks to a clever TV director knows now the whole racing world the hands of Wolff.

Only a week later and 8000 kilometers further east, the Grand Prix Circus stops in Suzuka for the fifth-last race. Thanks to his bodyguard Bottas, Hamilton now has a comfortable 50-point advantage over Sebastian Vettel. Nowhere in the paddock in the Mie Prefecture is indignation felt over the exchange of space of Mercedes, which prevails mainly in the social media. What happened was neither forbidden nor especially immoral. The fans are still divided as rare, reckons the reporter of the Formula 1 own TV channel, the action would be fifty-fifty rated. Lewis Hamilton, the one addressed, calmly replies: "I'm as undecided as the audience, 50 percent think it was absolutely right, the other 50 percent regret it." If you are looking for a drama, you might find it on the mental level, maybe even find it: Split the discussions the Silver Arrow racing team?

Do not cry, please! Lewis Hamilton meets one of his youngest fans before the race in Japan.

(Photo: Ng Han Guan / AP)

Wolff, the man with the decisive finger, had already expressed his turmoil after the race in Russia: "Rational it was the right decision, but our athlete's heart says no, but you have to weigh: Will I on Sunday for understandable reasons, the evil Jack for many, or will I stand idiot at the season finale in Abu Dhabi? "

Of course Wolff wants to have scored the title for the fifth consecutive time in the finals. Since the Austrians in the Mercedes racing center has the shots, is communicated unusually open to the Group, which had proven itself in the era of rival drivers Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. Even the stable management to the detriment of Bottas is not just presented as a normal business, although it is exactly this in Formula 1.

The situation, which had not been played through in the long briefing before the start, had even occurred, because too late responded to a tactical pit stop by Vettel and Hamilton had left out too long. Wolff explains that he was distracted at that moment through a discussion with strategist James Vowles. The two will know if that was the case, but in any case that was a clear demonstration of team spirit, by the way not for the first time: Look, we're all team players, bosses take our mistakes on their own heads. The last Mercedes and Daimler drivers Jürgen Hubbert and Dieter Zetsche were often guests in the pits not only for political reasons. The future CEO Ola Källenius even had the responsibility for racing engines at the beginning of the decade. There are managers who claim that nowhere else will you be forced to make quick strategic decisions like in motorsport. Therefore this is a good school. At the moment, Mercedes has a lot more ahead of rival Ferrari.

Restlessness at Mercedes they just do not need well, from Sochi on the way to Japan for both pilots to stopover in the Mercedes racing factory in Central English Brackley. "It's the best team spirit I've ever experienced," says Hamilton. They started together – on Valtteri Bottas. For himself, the eventual winner, the circumstances would not have detracted from the splendor of his 70th Grand Prix success: "Our sport is different in this respect than any other, we each drive for the individual title, but it always needs both Driver to win the Constructors World Championship. " Therefore one must be there for the other. The distribution of roles was basically only for the one race, the Briton claimed: "I did not come to Suzuka with the attitude that Valtteri has to do a job for me." A question of pilot honor. Of course, this turns out to be much more for the second man.

Bottas has narrow lips when he is addressed in the Mercedes Pavilion at the Suzuka Circuit on his degradation. Behind him are cut flowers and old toy cars on the shelf, it's a tidy atmosphere, and it goes pretty well with the 29-year-old: "What happens does not mean I'm not a racer, I feel like the winner everything that counts for me. " Internally everyone knows what happened and why: "I am a team player and therefore know what I have to do and when." He expressly does not want to receive anything either, if Hamilton was to become a champion at an early age: "It is only up to me whether I can win." I have to accept the situation in which I am today because it is a consequence of mine Results in the first half of the season. " Bottas is not a broken man. He could not draw comparisons with former Schumacher adjutant Rubens Barrichello, he did not know exactly what that was like, always hear people talking about it. Believe it or not. In fact, the Finn has a much more emancipated role than the Brazilian agent at the time, stall orders are always a matter of circumstance. Felipe Massa had been publicly dismantled by the Scuderia in 2010, when he did not simply accept the ordered discrimination.

Carry on, drive on like this, Hamilton advises his sideline, himself and the whole troupe: "We must continue to demonstrate unity." He can rely on Bottas. Bottas says, "I would do it again."

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