Apr.18 (GMM) Mercedes reluctantly used team orders in Bahrain because "the situation is different now".
That is the explanation of team boss Toto Wolff, speaking after Valtteri Bottas was told to move over for triple world champion Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain.
"We don't like it," he is quoted by Speed Week, when asked about the order.
"In recent years we didn't do this. But the situation is different now," Wolff added.
He is referring to the fact that, while Mercedes utterly dominated between 2014-2016, the team is actually now trailing Ferrari after three races in 2017.
"So far we had an internal struggle," Wolff continued. "This is also a question that Ferrari has to face."
But the Austrian also said he is enjoying the nature of the 2017 battle so far, with Mercedes and Ferrari fighting hard but still getting along well off track.
"I like this philosophy, a bit like rugby," said Wolff. "We fight hard against each other but afterwards can have a beer together. I think that's important."