Valtteri Bottas says he trusts Mercedes to handle its policy on team orders in the right way during the final eight races of the 2018 Formula 1 season.

Mercedes has been reluctant to use team orders throughout the V6 hybrid era and has tried to maintain equal opportunities to allow drivers Bottas and Lewis Hamilton to fight it out on track for race wins and titles where possible.

But with Hamilton’s position at the top of the drivers’ standings less comfortable after chief rival Sebastian Vettel reduced the deficit to 17 points with a commanding win in the Belgian Grand Prix, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admitted the team may reconsider its stance and use Bottas in a support role with this year’s championship so delicately poised.

When asked about how he would feel supporting Hamilton’s title bid, Bottas - who sits 87 points behind his teammate - replied: "For sure it will be different, in terms of how you approach the weekend, but I think the team would still support both of us a lot. If I would have the pace to win a race, by pure speed, if I'm about to win a race, it's up to the team to look at the situation.

"I don't think, in anyway, I would completely lose the freedom to win the race if I'm able to do so. It depends on the situation: if there are clear points or way to avoid me or Lewis to lose points, we'll see how to do it,” he added.

“It will always depend on the situation and I do trust the team that they have respect for both drivers and won't do anything too harsh.''

Having largely dominated the current regulation cycle, Mercedes has found its position at the top of F1’s pecking order under threat following a renewed charge by Ferrari this season.

Despite the Scuderia appearing to have edged clear of Mercedes in terms of engine performance and with its overall 2018 package, Bottas insisted the atmosphere within the team has not shifted.

"It definitely hasn't changed the dynamics in the team,'' The Finn said. "That's actually motivating us even more than before, knowing that we need to work hard, we need to improve because we want to win.

“It's not like this wasn't the case before, but when the team had the best car we set our own targets for how much we needed to improve every race. Now the goal is simpler a quicker car and a quicker team.

"That obviously motivates us more, but I can't see a different spirit or different dynamics, we're still working flat out."

Mercedes has already used team orders on one occasion this year when it instructed Bottas to hold position behind Hamilton in order to protect a one-two finish, after the pair had gone wheel-to-wheel for the lead of the race in the closing stages of July's German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.