Lewis Hamilton insists he won’t move aside for team-mate Valtteri Bottas as a gesture to repay him for obeying team orders back in Russia earlier this season.
Mercedes received criticism in Sochi when it instructed Bottas to allow Hamilton passed to maximise his chances of extending his lead in the world championship.
It prevented the Finn from sealing his first win of the year, having suffered a series of misfortunes that has prevented him from winning a race in his second year with the team.
After Hamilton wrapped up the title in Mexico, Bottas is free to race in the final two races this season, but the Briton believes he “wouldn’t be doing many favours” aiding Bottas’ chances of a victory.
“The team are not going to make that call,” Hamilton said ahead of the Brazilian Grand Prix, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“If I’m in the position – it’s not something I’ve asked Valtteri, if he’d want that, but I don’t think he’s going to want that. He’s going to want to win in his own way.
“So I don’t know if I’d be doing him many favours in the sense of giving him a win, I don’t think he needs that anyways, I think he can do it himself.
“All I can do is try to make sure I’m supportive throughout the process, throughout the weekend. I’m always really open with my set-up, so I’ll continue to be so.”
Bottas responded to Hamilton’s comments adamant it does not interest him in the slightest to be handed a win on a plate – focused on going all out for glory by his own reckoning.
“Definitively I don’t want to win if it’s given to me, I want to win by doing it by myself,” Bottas said.
“Coming here knowing that there is a possibility to win a race is obviously a good feeling.
“You all know what my goal will be for this weekend, so it’s going to be up to me and I need to perform at my best level to fight for the win.
“For sure we both want to finish as high as we can, we want to win the race, that’s how it goes. So, as a team, we both aim to be as strong as we can in qualifying and in the race.
“We all know there’s a chance for us to secure the constructors’ title here, but it’s not something we want to think about too much.”