In the early stages of the Belgian Grand Prix Valtteri Bottas asked his engineer if he had “one push” available against Lewis Hamilton. He was referring to the ‘push-to-pass’ mechanism which provides the driver with the ability to increase the car’s power for short periods of time in order to try and overtake the car in front of him.
The engineer informed Bottas that the option was available, but that they “agreed not to use it against each other”, to which the Finn replied: “I never heard of that”. Many interpreted this exchange as Mercedes implementing team orders and preventing Bottas from attacking Hamilton.
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Team boss Toto Wolff explained the confusion after the race.
“There’s no rules in place between the two drivers, they are allowed and free to race,” said Wolff.
“In the morning, we agreed and discussed that we obviously have a limited amount of overtakes, and that we would try not to use them against each other, or the last one against each other.
“There is always the risk of needing it against Max or any other car. This is what we were referring to. [With] Valtteri obviously, this was maybe a miscommunication between him and some of the guys.
“That’s why we reiterated it,” concluded the Austrian.