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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff admits the team want to see how Formula One’s second attempt at a sprint qualifying session “pans out” before it considers bringing in any team orders in Monza between their two drivers.
Valtteri Bottas out-paced his team-mate Lewis Hamilton ahead of the Italian Grand Prix to start from the front of the grid for the sprint qualifying session, a race that determines the grid for Sunday’s main event.
Verstappen, the championship leader, lines up just behind the Mercedes front-row lock-out, with the two McLaren’s of Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo rounding up the top five.
But with Bottas no longer fighting for the drivers’ title anymore, Mercedes have the option of switching the two team-mates at the start of the race to give Hamilton the chance for pole position, and three extra important points in the championship fight.
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Though Wolff admitted team orders may be implemented as the session progresses.
“It felt nice, you know what it feels like when you manage to make a good qualifying lap,” Wolff told Sky Sports. “And especially in Q3, so nice to put it all together and it is really satisfying.”
“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.
“It is difficult, generally, when you have to call team orders because all of us as racers, we don’t want to see that.
“Everybody here should be aware he’s [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.
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“There’s not too much to discuss [beforehand]. Just be careful in the first corner, and then we’ll see where they are.”
Bottas is still in the fight for the Constructors’ Championship title, which Mercedes currently lead by 12 points over Red Bull.
And with points awarded for first, second, and third, Wolff added that the agenda for the team is clear.
“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.”
Sprint qualifying gets underway at 3:30 pm ahead of the Italian Grand Prix tomorrow, with the results of Saturday’s session setting up the grid for Sunday.
Bottas will start from the back of the grid regardless of where he finishes due to taking a penalty for a new power unit ahead of the race.
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