Valtteri Bottas feels his bid for a podium finish in Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix was "compromised" by letting Mercedes Formula 1 teammate through on-track, but understood the decision made by the team.

Bottas ran a reverse strategy after being hit with a gearbox penalty that left him sixth on the grid at Suzuka, putting him into the lead of the race after the drivers starting on super-softs had all pitted.

After Hamilton caught up quickly, he complained over the radio that he was losing time behind Bottas, allowing Red Bull's Max Verstappen to close to within a second behind.

Bottas moved aside for Hamilton at the Casio Triangle before holding Verstappen back, allowing the Briton to forge a lead that proved crucial en route to his eighth victory of the year.

Bottas, meanwhile, finished fourth, just one second behind Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo in the final podium position, which he felt could have been in reach had he not had to move aside.

"For sure then when Lewis pitted with the new tyre, he caught me, and when I let him by and went between him and Max, for sure I lost a bit of race time and that compromised my race a little bit," Bottas explained.

"But obviously it was good for us as a team. In the end, I did get the opportunity thanks to stopping late and being on the fresher tyre, and the pace was good. The balance was quite a lot better in the second stint, I could actually attack, and I got quite close to Daniel in the end, but not quite enough."

Hamilton's victory saw him move 59 points clear of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel at the top of the drivers' championship, with Bottas understanding the call and saying there was not much discussion with the team about the decision.

"There was not a lot. Maybe internally there was more," Bottas said.

"They just told me when to do it really, and I kind of got the point, I understood completely the situation. Without the gearbox penalty we had, we would not have been in this situation.

"For sure it was not ideal for both of us, he lost time and I think I lost quite a few seconds at that point as well which would have helped me massively at the end of the race.

"We will look into everything if it could have been done better, but I understood the situation."



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