Valtteri Bottas 'understands' team decision to let Lewis Hamilton pass

SAKHIR, Bahrain -- Valtteri Bottas says he understands why Mercedes ordered him to let teammate Lewis Hamilton pass at the Bahrain Grand Prix, but admits he did not like doing it.

After the Mercedes drivers were put on different tyre strategies, Bottas moved out of the way for Hamilton on two occasions during the 57 lap race, but on the second occasion he effectively ceded second place to his teammate. Hamilton, who the team felt had a chance of catching race leader Sebastian Vettel in the final stint, passed Bottas for the position when the Finn backed off the throttle in Turn 13 ten laps from the end.

"I'm a racing driver, so being told to let your team mate through is the worst thing you can hear," Bottas said after the race. "But there was potential for Lewis to catch Sebastian, so I understand the team's decision. Personally it's hard, but what I have to find out is why we didn't have the pace today."

After starting on pole position, Bottas was off the pace throughout the race as he struggled with oversteer and overheating rear tyres. A generator failure on the grid meant his tyre pressures were set too high for the first stint, but he admitted he struggled with the similar handling issues in the following two stints.

"I was told there was a problem with the tyre pressures from the start, and that's why I was sliding around from lap two and Sebastian could put me under pressure. I was trying to extend the first stint, to minimise the issue for the second stint, but I was struggling and used the Safety Car period to pit.

"In the second stint was still struggling with oversteer, less than before but still struggling and then in the last stint, even with the harder compound, it was still oversteering, so it was a strange race for me. I'm OK with third but it was not a good day."