Mercedes says it has no need for team orders until much later in the year, when the fight for the world championship begins to heat up…
But it’s already used them, in effect, at Monza with Valtteri Bottas backing Kimi Räikkönen into the path of teammate Lewis Hamilton…
… destroying the Ferrari driver’s tyres, and making him a sitting duck for the Brit to get past around the outside of Turn 1 on Lap 45.
And while Bottas has previously bristled at suggestions he’s a great wing-man for Hamilton…
The Flying Finn’s now-97 point deficit to his teammate means that’s the role he must play to ensure Mercedes secures both championships.
SOUNDBITE (English) VALTTERI BOTTAS,
F1 DRIVER, MERCEDES:
“For sure, I need to try and always perform on a good level. And, yes, especially if Lewis is having a bad day or bad race for any reason then I need to be able to fight for the win of the race.”
Hamilton now sits 30-points ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel in the standings… and Mercedes is turning its factory upside-down for added performance - to add to the Brit’s top form.
SOUNDBITE (English) EMERSON FITTIPALDI,
2-TIME F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
“The love, the passion for the sport, I can see [it] on every mile that Lewis is driving. Every kilometre he's driving a racing car, it's there. He's a fantastic example of one of the best ever.”
But one retirement could change everything, with Singapore a difficult track on the Silver Arrows’ rear tyres, despite the squad taking the last two wins there.
With seven races to go, the tifosi are relishing Ferrari’s best chance for F1 World championship glory in years. But Mercedes is certainly putting in the hard yards - to try and spoil the party…