Valtteri Bottas says he would not accept having a win given back to him from Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton before the end of the 2018 Formula 1 season.

Bottas started from pole in Sunday’s Russian Grand Prix but was ordered to hand over a position to Hamilton at mid-distance to strengthen his teammate’s title bid.

Hamilton praised Bottas during muted post-race celebrations and expressed how uneasy he felt by the situation, adding he considered allowing his teammate back through in the closing stages to take a win he felt he deserved.

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But Bottas, who sits over 100 points behind Hamilton in the drivers’ standings, stressed he would rather earn race victories on merit, than receiving one in exchange for his actions in Sochi.

Asked if he would accept Hamilton allowing him to claim a win later in the season, he replied: “No, I think it’s more fun if we race each other.”

The result enabled Hamilton to extend his advantage over Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel to 50 points with 125 points left up for grabs from the remaining five rounds, effectively providing the Briton with a two-race buffer over Vettel.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff described the use of team orders as a “harsh reality” for Bottas and said he would rather be viewed as the “baddie” in Russia than look like an “idiot” at the end of the season if Hamilton ended up missing out on the title.

Bottas conceded he understood Mercedes’ explanation for using team orders given he is all but out of contention for the title, but hinted at confusion over the way it was handled during the race.

“For sure we always go through all the scenarios, all the facts,” Bottas said. “Lewis is fighting for the championship and we’re fighting for the constructors’ championship.

“We always have a plan but today… It’s always difficult to predict what is going to happen in the race, how it’s going to go… but it is what it is.

“I don’t want to talk about what we speak inside the team before the race, it’s between us, but it was a little bit of a confusing situation.

“Still, it’s our own thing what we discuss inside.”

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