Toto Wolff happy to take the rap for Mercedes' team order

Bottas doesn't want favor returned by Mercedes

The four-time world champion, who slipped 50 points behind Hamilton after finishing third behind him and Valtteri Bottas, said it was a "no-brainer" for Mercedes to use team orders.

As on previous occasions, Russian leader Putin was on hand to present Hamilton with this trophy on Sunday, and the pair were overheard sharing a joke about Hamilton's exuberant celebrations from back in 2015, when he appeared.

"In their defence, all the questions, [and] I know that you guys love controversy and therefore ask some naughty questions to them as individuals". I took one of the team today.

Hamilton's victory means he now has a strong 50 points advantage over Vettel in the drivers' championship, with just five races remaining.

The head won out and if denying Bottas a maiden race win of the year ultimately ensures Hamilton secures a fifth world championship, Mercedes and team principal Wolff will feel vindicated.

Speaking to the BBC after the 2010 German Grand Prix, Schumacher, now at Mercedes, defended Ferrari's order but, in part, could also see the other side of the picture when linking back to team orders in his tenure at the Italian outfit.

"Hard day for you and a hard day for us", said team boss Toto Wolff, whose finger had been captured by the world television feed hovering over the "tactics" button before the order was given.

There are five races remaining in the 2018 season. "Who knows, but I would say often quite smart decisions in winning and sealing constructors' championships each year".

Kimi Raikkonen finished fourth for Ferrari, after leading briefly when he stayed out longer before his stop, followed by Verstappen and Red Bull team mate Daniel Ricciardo.

This was soon after Hamilton had managed get clear of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel, who had got the jump on him during the pitstops.

"So how are we going to finish the race?" Ferrari's Vettel took third place, a blow to his championship hopes.

The German now has 256 points to Hamilton's 306.

The Red Bull driver had excelled in the opening phase, moving up nine places from his position of 19th on the grid in a little more than two laps.

The Mercedes driver benefitted from team orders after Valtteri Bottas was instructed to let his team-mate pass when being pressed by Sebastian Vettel in the battle for second.

Lewis Hamilton stood by Mercedes' decision to manufacture his controversial win in Russian Federation that takes him ever closer to a fifth world championship.

But the Briton, biding his time, clocked a fastest lap to move within two seconds before a half-hearted attack was repelled and he held on for victory.

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