• IN WORDS: Difficult Call To Make, But Someone Has To - Toto

Toto runs through the big talking points from the Russian Grand Prix...

'Rationally, the right call'

We found ourselves in the tricky situation after leaving Lewis out one lap too long in the pit stops, which brought him out behind Sebastian. 

"The race panned out differently to what we had expected," Toto admitted. "We spent a lot of time in the morning discussing various scenarios. The one that actually happened was slipstreaming each other, but then we got tangled up in the way we called the pitstops.

"We did the right thing by calling Valtteri in first, it would have protected his position, but we were one lap too late with Lewis.

"I'll take it on me, because I was engaging with James [Vowles] in a conversation when he should have made the call. And this is why he came in a lap too late and lost position.

"Lewis had to fight hard to overtake Sebastian, which was an awesome move, but blistered his tyres and then we were in a situation where Valtteri was in front managing the tyres.

"Lewis was behind with a blistered rear and Sebastian all over him. And at that stage, there were two possible outcomes. The best case would have been it stayed like it is and we finish second with Lewis and win with Valtteri.

"The worst case was that the blister wouldn't last until the end and Lewis would have been overtaken by Sebastian, in order to manage his tyres.

"This is why having Valtteri in between was the call we made. Rationally, the right call to do, but our sporting heart says it was not."

'Somebody has to do it'

As racers, it was a tough decision to make. But, as Toto says, when there are Championships at stake someone has to do it. 

"I thought about it the whole hour, in the same way I thought about it in Budapest," he explained. "In Budapest, we said if we can't make it past Raikkonen, then we're going to swap back.

"I wanted to stand by my word. Even if it would cost us the position. But, that was Budapest, mid-season and here we are in Sochi at the end of the season.

"I thought about it all the time, but you need to consider the Championship. And, if at the end five points or three points are missing, then you're the biggest idiot on the planet for having prioritised Valtteri's single race result over the Championship.

"It's about seven points up and down, and as much as it is difficult to make such a call, somebody has to do it. Somebody needs to be the baddie and it's me today.

"You need to weigh it up. To be the baddie on Sunday evening for many right reasons, or do I want to be the idiot in Abu Dhabi at end of the season?

"I'd rather be a baddie today than an idiot at the end of the year."

'It just doesn't feel right'

The rational calls may not always feel right to make, but through a difficult situation, Valtteri showed he is a man of rare quality and an incredible team-mate.

"He's such an intelligent guy and understands how the team dynamic goes and what we discussed this morning," Toto said. "If he were in Lewis' situation, would he expect the team to work for him?

"The answer is clearly, yes. The rationality gives you the answer. So, he understands that, but in his heart, in the same way in my heart and Lewis' heart and all of our hearts, it just doesn't feel right that he wouldn't win the race because he was the guy in the lead.

"We spent a lot of time discussing it and we do that every day, to try and be transparent within the team and even if it's the inconvenient truth, we discuss it and say, 'how do we want to face that?'

"It has served us well over the last six years, we had a really difficult ride with Nico and Lewis and there are difficult moments like today, but then you need to make the call and you need to stand by it."