Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has been at the top of the F1 world for years now - and the frustration from teammate Valtteri Bottas is beginning to show.
Bottas has been regarded as one of the sport’s best ‘number two’ drivers since joining the German manufacturer for the 2017 season.
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But the interrupted 2020 season has proved challenging for the Finnish driver, who won the season opener in Austria but has since trailed Hamilton in every race.
The Belgian Grand Prix marked yet another Mercedes one-two finish, but Bottas was audibly frustrated on team radio after being informed he could not use a higher-powered engine setting to mount an overtake on his teammate.
When Bottas asked if he had one ‘push’ left, he was promptly informed by his engineer that the team had agreed they would not be used for the teammates to race each other.
“I’ve never heard of that,” Bottas shot back, who needed a race win to keep his own championship hopes alive.
Those hopes grew even slimmer, despite Bottas cruising to second place at Spa Francorchamps ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff clarified the situation after the race, saying the agreement between Hamilton and Bottas was largely to ensure both drivers would have enough pace to fend off Verstappen, the team’s only real threat this season.
“There’s no rules in place between the two drivers, they are allowed and free to race,” Wolff told Motorsport.com.
“In the morning, we agreed and discussed that we obviously have a limited amount of overtakes, and that we would try not to use them against each other, or the last one against each other.
“There is always the risk of needing it against Max or any other car. This is what we were referring to.”
Daniel Ricciardo’s stellar Belgian GP performance
There may not be any stopping Lewis Hamilton this year, but Daniel Ricciardo at least stole some of the limelight from the runaway Formula One championship leader at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Ricciardo matched his best result this season with a blistering fourth-placed finish at Spa, as Mercedes' reigning champion Hamilton claimed another victory to extend his lead at the top of the standings.
While Ricciardo fell agonisingly short of a podium finish, he did have the distinction of recording the fastest lap out of all the competitors.
The Australian star's sparkling drive was capped off by becoming the first Renault driver since 2010 to claim the race's fastest lap, which earned him an extra championship point.
The 31-year-old was clearly buzzing after the superb feat, with team radio catching his hilarious response to his incredible finish.
"Yeah, I f***ing sent that last lap," Ricciardo could be heard over a wild laugh on team radio after the race.
Ricciardo has now finish fourth three times this season and twice in the past four races.
Sunday's race was very good for the French manufacturer with Ricciardo finishing just ahead of teammate Esteban Ocon.
"What a race and definitely an excellent result for the team. We had a lot of pace today and fourth is a strong result," Ricciardo said.
"It's been a while since I've had the fastest lap of the race, so that was also nice. My engineer told me what the current fastest was and I thought 'I got this'!
"It was a proper big lap; I used all the track and went for it. Maybe it was better than my qualifying lap yesterday!"