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No ‘brutal’ team orders at Mercedes – Wolff

Toto Wolff says Mercedes is reluctant to issue any “brutal” team orders this year.

Before he won in Russia, closing the points gap to his teammate Lewis Hamilton to just 10 points, team newcomer Valtteri Bottas was asked to move aside in Bahrain.

But Mercedes boss Wolff says orders will be used as rarely as possible.

“The topic is rightly very controversial — nobody wants to see it,” he told the German news agency SID.

But he also said recently that, after three years of dominance, Mercedes now needs to tweak its approach.

That is because the new rules “put everything back to zero”, and Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel did an “exceptionally good job”.

“There may be situations where one of the two is faster for whatever reason and we must think of the team winning the race,” said Wolff.

But he said the days of crude position-swapping like Schumacher-Barrichello in 2002 are over.

“No, I think that was a different era. Such brutality of team orders is not our intention,” said Wolff.

But Wolff said he is proud the top two teams are clearly ahead of all other 2017 challengers.

“This is clear proof of our strength as a team,” said Wolff.

And he said it’s good for F1 that the two drivers at the top of the championship at the moment are Vettel and Hamilton.

“For the championship it’s a good thing that the drivers with the biggest personalities and almost 100 wins between them fight for the title,” said Wolff.

He also said he is happy with how Bottas is settling in.

“It’s crazy that after three races some were saying he is the ‘number 2’ of the team,” said Wolff. “It was a risky step for him to arrive at the champion team with Hamilton as his teammate.

“But after four races he deserves to have a pole and a win,” he added.

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