Valtteri Bottas says he hoped teammate Lewis Hamilton would wrap up the 2018 Formula 1 world championship at the United States Grand Prix after Mercedes once again used team orders.

Bottas was told to allow Hamilton past on two separate occasions during Sunday’s race in a bid to help his teammate get into a position to enable him to seal his fifth drivers’ world title.

But with Hamilton only able to finish third behind race-winner Kimi Raikkonen and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen after being forced onto a two-stop strategy, it was not enough for him to be crowned champion in Austin.

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It was the second time in three races Mercedes had imposed team orders on Bottas, having instructed the Finn to concede position to Hamilton while leading in Russia. 

Asked if it is frustrating to think he may have to follow team orders again in Mexico next weekend, Bottas replied: “I would have been happy for him [Hamilton] to win it here.

“Obviously I was trying everything I could I lost myself two or three seconds every time I had to let him by, so for sure that compromised me a little bit. But maybe he’ll win in the next one.”

Both Mercedes drivers suffered with tyre degradation throughout the race as Bottas ended up fifth, having been jumped by Verstappen during the pit stop window before Sebastian Vettel pulled off a pass to snatch fourth in the closing stages.

Bottas admitted he had no answer to Vettel’s late attack due to how badly worn his tyres were, adding he was unsure why Mercedes struggled on Pirelli’s Soft compound - a tyre it has traditionally performed strongly on.

“I think it was about five laps too many for my tyres,” Bottas explained. “I told the team, maybe three laps from the end, that the tyres were suddenly starting to go and I was struggling in all the corners for traction.

“I tried to defend [from Vettel] but he had just better life in the tyres and pulled more than five seconds in just one and a half laps, so it was pretty tough in the end.

“For me the Supersofts worked well in the first stint and once people started stopping I was feeling comfortable with the tyres,” he added.

“Initially I had some problems with overheating but then it was getting better and better. As the tyres were wearing we could push a bit more and even with the Supersoft it was good.

“Obviously the Soft was always going to be unknown. Normally it has been the better tyre on the long runs but today, for some reason it didn’t quite work.”

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