Lewis Hamilton does not want Mercedes to use team orders in Formula 1 unless absolutely necessary, feeling they should be saved for "special circumstances".

Valtteri Bottas was given the call to let Mercedes team-mate Hamilton past on two occasions last time out in Bahrain in a bid to keep the team's hopes of victory alive against Sebastian Vettel.

With fine margins separating Mercedes and Ferrari at the start of the 2017 season, committing to a single championship contender could be beneficial to stop the second drivers taking points off the team leader in the race for the title.

Mercedes has always enforced a joint number one policy for its drivers, and Hamilton supports this, feeling that team orders should only be used when absolutely necessary.

"Team orders I think are always a very odd thing and a difficult thing to judge, and are something never to be liked," Hamilton said. "But it is in our rules and our approach is that the team need to win, so we do have to try and work as a team. But I think only in special circumstances.

"I think you just have to assess in the moment what the position is and whether you're in a powerful position or whether you're actually contributing to the team's result, or you're not, and make the call."

When asked what he would have done in Bottas' position in Bahrain, Hamilton backed the Finn's decision to let him through, saying he would have done the same thing.

"I think I would have reacted exactly the same way as him," Hamilton said. "He was struggling, he's even admitted he was struggling with his rear tyres. When I went past, I said to the team if I don't pull away I'll let him back past, but I did. I could see Sebastian pulling away and I said we had to pick up the pace just at the time Valtteri was struggling with the car balance.

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"It makes no sense for us both to fall behind and let them pull away. In that scenario we worked as a team, and he while it was very tough for him, he was a great gentleman about it, and did the team proud.

"Of course we want to make sure we maximise for the team through a weekend, and going back to the point of the team, in our notes and in our job description is to win for the team, not win for yourself.

"So while individually you want to win the race, if you can't win, it's not a case of wanting the other car to win, you want the team to win. You want the team to succeed.

"We want to finish, Mercedes, ahead of the Ferraris this year. To do that, we have to work as a team more than ever before."

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