Valtteri Bottas: “We would have swapped positions if it was safe”

© Wolfgang Wilhelm for Daimler AG

Valtteri Bottas confirms he would have had no problem with letting Lewis Hamilton pass him in the Italian Gran Prix qualifying sprint race “if it was safe”.

Valtteri Bottas started the Italian Grand Prix Sprint Qualifying from P1, with Lewis Hamilton right behind him. However, due to a poor start, Lewis dropped back to P5, where he finished the race.

With the championship battle between Hamilton and Verstappen as close as it is, Mercedes would probably instruct Bottas to let the Briton through if they remained in their original starting positions at the end of the sprint race.

The Finn says he would have no problem letting Hamilton through.

“It would not have been the first time for me, obviously and the situation with the championship, for us…” Bottas started.

“In an ideal world we would have both got a good start. Possibly we would have swapped positions if it was safe, for obvious reasons.

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“But yeah, Lewis had a bad start and that of course is not great for him, not great for us as a team in terms of points.

“But that gave me an opportunity to win the sprint which is obviously, for me personally, is nice that I could race,” concluded the Finn.

In the end Bottas won the sprint race, but he will start the main race from the back due to an engine swap grid penalty. Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff praised the Finn’s performance.

“Valtteri just had an unbelievable getaway and drove away into the sunset,” the Austrian said.

“[It was] one of the most dominant ways of winning a race, irrespective of whether it was a Sprint race or not.

“It was a real masterclass from Valtteri,” concluded Wolff.

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