Hill criticises Bottas for ‘waving through’ Verstappen, Red Bull's cheeky dig

1996 Formula 1 world champion Damon Hill has criticised Valtteri Bottas’ for ‘gifting’ position to Max Verstappen during the Russian Grand Prix.
Hill criticises Bottas for ‘waving through’ Verstappen, Red Bull's cheeky dig

After taking his second engine penalty in as many races, Bottas started Sunday’s race from 16th on the grid, four places ahead of Red Bull’s Verstappen, who had also changed his power unit.

Verstappen turned in an impressive recovery drive to eventually finish directly behind his championship rival Lewis Hamilton in second place, having taken just six laps to get past Bottas.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 after the race in Sochi, Hill said he felt Bottas had done a poor job for his Mercedes team by offering little resistance to Verstappen as the pair exchanged places at Turn 13.

“You can’t get away from the fact that the guy who came second started the race behind him and his teammate won the race,” Hill said.

“Valtteri, in the race, we were expecting him to put up a little bit of a defence to fight the Mercedes corner against the Red Bull team and Max Verstappen, but he seemed to just wave him through.

“Maybe he just didn’t want any trouble. It doesn’t look like he is racing. It was almost like a gift to Max.”

Bottas struggled to make the same kind of progress through the field as Verstappen from the back, though both drivers benefitted massively from a call to pit early for intermediates as rain hit late on.

Verstappen vaulted up to second, while Bottas also improved by several positions to take fifth.

Although Hamilton retook the lead of the world championship with his 100th victory, the result means Verstappen is just two points behind the Mercedes driver heading into the final seven races of the season.

“I thought Valtteri was fair with Max when they were racing wheel-to-wheel,” Red Bull team principal Christian Horner said.

“He didn’t lose any time passing him, and that was an important move in the race.”

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