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A downcast Lewis Hamilton said his victory in Sunday's Russian Grand Prix aided by Mercedes team orders was "the strangest day" of his career.

But Sebastian Vettel, by contrast, described the strategy call as a "no-brainer".

But Massa told Corriere della Sera that Mercedes did nothing wrong at Sochi when it manipulated championship leader Lewis Hamilton into the lead.

"I think the team was anxious about the blister Lewis had".

"Valtteri was willing to sacrifice his win in Sochi to help protect our one-two and extend our lead in both championships - and he said he'd be prepared to do the same again tomorrow", Wolff said.

"And then we are a bunch of rational guys and we discussed things in the morning and then everything is different in the race".

"Lewis is fighting for the championship and I am not so from the team's point of view it was the ideal result, but maybe not ideal for me", Bottas said.

He answered: "I don't think Kimi is going to change in the last races".

"I'd rather be the baddie today than the idiot at the end of the year", he said.

If the German won the title by less than six points then Mercedes allowing Bottas to beat Hamilton in Russian Federation, denying the Briton seven additional points, would really have looked ill-advised. "In the end, for this year, if we look at the championship there's nothing I can really achieve that matters to me, so that's why I am looking forward to next year".

But Vettel, who began the season with back-to-back victories, also knows he needs a huge slice of luck to stand any chance of halting Hamilton's charge to the title.

At the start, Bottas led Hamilton into turn 1 with Vettel right on his tail.

Hamilton caught and followed Bottas for several laps, with the latter being backed up by the long-running Verstappen.

But he will move on to the Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka in a fortnight with a commanding advantage over Vettel, who has seen his chances of a fifth title recede since the summer break in the face of a resurgent Mercedes team and Hamilton's individual brilliance.

"Suzuka will be another challenging weekend for us", declared Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff, whose team are 53 points clear of Ferrari in the constructors' standings.

"Rationally, it was the right call to do", he said. It's not nice to ask them hard questions and I think for the team it doesn't make a difference who wins and for the drivers' championship it does.

After the round of pit stops, the German ended up in front of Hamilton before the Brit attacked to get the position back.


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