Valtteri Bottas insists Mercedes has no plans as yet for him to play a supporting role to teammate Lewis Hamilton in his bid to claim a fifth Formula 1 world championship. 

After the pair engaged in wheel-to-wheel combat in the closing stages of the German Grand Prix while running in first and second place, Bottas was instructed to hold station behind Hamilton, enabling the Briton to pull off a remarkable victory from 14th on the grid and move into a 17-point lead over Sebastian Vettel, who crashed out.  

Mercedes has rarely resorted to using team orders in recent years, instead favouring to allow its drivers equal opportunities to race freely for victories, and Bottas believes the incident in Germany does not change the German manufacturer’s stance, despite the Finn being over 60 points adrift of Hamilton. 

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“I do believe we are still allowed to race freely,” Bottas said ahead of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix. “Obviously it always is case by case but there’s no plan in place at the moment for me being at all in a support role. 

“I think it really goes case by case. It’s not guaranteed or completely identical situations can happen again, who knows,” he added. “Every situation is treated by the situation but there’s been no decisions or anything like that made that I would be in a different role than Lewis. 

“We are still both trying to collect maximum points, trying to always win the race, we always have equal chance for that so one way or another if me and Lewis end up in a similar situation then it's up to the team.

"We are on equal terms and I am still allowed to try and catch him in the points. Hopefully it’ll continue until the end of the year.”

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff remained adamant his team will not change its approach following the race, adding it would have made the same call regardless of which driver was in front. 

Bottas said Mercedes’ call made sense, given the remarkable situation it had found itself with only a handful of laps remaining, and considering how many points the team has already lost this season due to strategy mistakes and the double retirement in Austria. 

“I think with all the difficult races we had in the triple header, we lost so many points with different causes so I kind of get the team's position after lap one [after the Safety Car] and we were side by side a couple of times and they wanted to get those points,” he explained. 

“I am very confident they would have done the same if I was at the lead at that point. That’s how it is.”

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