Mercedes will 'presumably' order Bottas to let Hamilton by in Monza sprint

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Mercedes will "presumably" have to ask Valtteri Bottas to let Lewis Hamilton through during today's Sprint Qualifying at Monza, Toto Wolff admits.

The Finn, who will start Sunday's race from the back of the grid after taking a new power unit, claimed P1 on the grid despite towing his teammate during Friday qualifying at the Italian Grand Prix.

And Bottas, who only has one pole to his name so far in 2021 at Portimao, was satisfied to be the fastest qualifier, even if it didn't count as an official pole position.

“It felt nice, you know what it feels like when you manage to make a good qualifying lap,” he told Sky Sports. “And especially in Q3, so nice to put it all together and it is really satisfying.”

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While Bottas was playing the team game by offering Hamilton a slipstream on Monza's long straight, he too was benefitting from running in the train.

“I made it very clear, if we want to get a front-row lockout, we all will need a tow and luckily we found one in the end," he added.

With Max Verstappen starting third behind his championship rival, Mercedes may face a dilemma with Bottas and Hamilton in Saturday's 18-lap race, particularly with the top three scoring points in Sprint Qualifying (1st = 3, 2nd = 2, 3rd = 1).

“It is difficult, generally, when you have to call team orders because all of us as racers, we don’t want to see that,” team boss Wolff told Sky Sports.

“Everybody here should be aware he (Bottas) is [there] on merit. But, in this case, Valtteri is going all the way to the back on Sunday, so we need to see how the start pans out.

“There’s not too much to discuss [beforehand]. Just be careful in the first corner, and then we’ll see where they are.”

But asked if Mercedes would call for the drivers to switch if the opportunity arose, Toto was at least honest... “Yeah presumably."

Whether the departing Bottas will comply though is likely a small but still interesting question.

“I think we need to get the maximum points as a team or course, that’s important,” he said.

“But let’s see how it goes, we need to really go by situation, and my aim of course personally is to get a good start and build a gap, that is the goal for me.”