"As a team, we need a number 1 and a number 2".
The team had said they would favour Vettel in 50-50 situations and clearly adjudged this to be a case in point and that they genuinely believed he could go quicker.
But for now, he is backing the heavily criticised Sebastian Vettel, who in Bahrain struggled to shine alongside newcomer Charles Leclerc.
"In the first stint in the dirty air, I couldn't follow".
Sunday's race was over in the first 30 seconds.
Hamilton was pipped for pole position by Bottas by just 0.023 seconds in qualifying and had said that he was "struggling with the car". Hamilton has won it.
It was his sixth victory in the Shanghai race.
The next is in two weeks in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Lance Stroll of Canada driving the (18) Racing Point RP19 Mercedes on track during practice for the F1 Grand Prix of China at Shanghai International Circuit on April 12, 2019 in Shanghai, China.
"For the race start, I thought maybe it's going to be better with warmer tyres but it wasn't", he continued, "so once I hit the white line, I got the wheel-spin, took too long to recover it, lost a few metres of distance, and Lewis got me". "And after that it was kind of history".
Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in action during the race.
"We had to stop for further checks on something on the oil", said Leclerc.
"It is small details [that cost Bottas] but it is early days in the season, things are looking good", he added.
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel was in third, after the team had ordered his teammate Charles Leclerc to move over for the German.
"Let Sebastian by. Let Sebastian by", the team radio told Leclerc.
Ferrari has had more flat-out speed than Mercedes in the early season, but China seems to have leveled the playing field.
"I understand the feeling of Charles, it's a shame for him", Binotto said. "At least we tried and we look forward now". But we just couldn't.
"It just doesn't look like they're extracting their full potential on the weekends", Hamilton said after the race. "Not sure I want to answer because I'm a little bit against the way you - all of you - work, because you take bits out of answers here and there and put it into the wrong light".
"I thought I was faster in the auto", he said. "I was struggling with the vehicle throughout the weekend".
"At the point obviously the gap was already quite big". He said the vehicle was "strong, nothing wrong with it". The first was in 1950 at Silverstone, the former World War II airfield in southern England. That was won on May 13 by Guiseppe Farina in an Alfa Romeo.