x

Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 13 November 2018

Valtteri Bottas insists he is on 'equal terms' with Lewis Hamilton ahead of Hungarian Grand Prix

Team orders issued in Germany led to suggestions the Finn had taken on a support role to his championship-leading Mercedes teammate

Valtteri Bottas signs autographs for fans ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix. Reuters
Valtteri Bottas signs autographs for fans ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix. Reuters

Mercedes-GP driver Valtteri Bottas said on Thursday that he will be racing to win the Hungarian Grand Prix after team orders issued last time out in Germany led to suggestions the Finn has assumed a supporting role for Lewis Hamilton.

Bottas, 28, pushed to challenge Hamilton for victory in last Sunday's German Grand Prix but received an order to "hold position", allowing his reigning world champion teammate to claim victory and extend his lead in the drivers' standings.

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff insisted after the race that the order did not make Hamilton the team's No 1 driver and that had the roles been reversed, "we would have done it the other way around".

____________

Read more:

Graham Caygill: Verstappen in position to dominate the Hungarian Grand Prix

Preview: Vettel will remain Hamilton's focus in Hungary despite Red Bull threat

Graham Caygill: Title fight between Hamilton and Vettel as Bottas and Raikkonen receive team orders

____________

Bottas insisted Mercedes had not changed its policy and that this meant he was free to compete for the win on Sunday.

"Obviously, it always goes case by case, but there is no plan at the moment for me to be in a support role," said Bottas, who is fourth in the drivers' standings, 66 points behind Hamilton.

"We are still on equal terms and that is the plan for now and hopefully it will continue to the end of the year.

"With all the difficult races we had in the triple header, we lost so many points with different causes, so I kind of get the team's decision.

"We were side-by-side and they wanted to get those points. I am confident they would have done the same if I was in the lead at that point."

While Bottas' future at Mercedes is secured having signed a contract extension until the end of the 2020 season, the same cannot be said of Force India and their driver Sergio Perez.

Perez acknowledged that Force India face a "critical" financial situation that has forced him to consider his future in Formula One.

The Mexican driver said the team remains one of his favoured options, but he feels he must consider other offers and hopes to clarify his thinking during F1's upcoming European summer break.

"At this moment, the situation is critical," he said. "There's no secret that financial problems have held the team back quite a bit.

"If you look at the results, we are fifth in the constructors' championship and you cannot imagine the financial issues that we've had so far. It just shows the potential this team has.

"Definitely I would like to see what happens in the coming weeks and months with the team, because I believe it is a great team."