Bottas now "putting the dots together", says Wolff

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff says Valterri Bottas’s Brazilian GP pole reflects the fact that the Finn is now getting more out of the W08 after struggling in recent races.

Bottas now "putting the dots together", says Wolff
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Qualifying Top 3: polesitter Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1, second place Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, third place Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1, congratulates team mate Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1, on securing pole
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, out of the pits at the start of Qualifying
Front row starters, pole man Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1, Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
Pole man Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08
Johnny Herbert, Sky TV with pole sitter Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 in parc ferme
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08

Bottas was left to carry the hopes of the Brackley-based team after Lewis Hamilton crashed at the start of Q1, relegating the newly-crowned world champion to last on the grid.

In the face of strong competition from Sebastian Vettel, Bottas stole position on his second run, with the Ferrari driver admitting that he was too cautious on the brakes.

Wolff and fellow Mercedes boss Niki Lauda made their elation clear at the end of the session.

“Why I was happy is because obviously it felt sore losing Lewis in Q1,” said Wolff.

“You could say after winning the championship it is not so important anymore, but we wanted to maintain positive momentum. I think it’s important to continue that.

"It was just over on the first flying lap and we knew that if you lose one of your two it’s going to be very difficult to beat Vettel.

"Valtteri just managed to extract everything of the car in that last lap. It was very close, and that’s why we were happy.”

Woolf said that Bottas’s form continues to improve: “He was on an upward slope in the last races, but this weekend was very good – every session he was competitive.

"So, for me, it’s a positive indication that he is understanding the car better and is on the right trajectory.

“I think it’s those little steps he makes to understand why the tyre doesn’t perform or why he’s not having the tyre in the right window. The car is very sensitive and the tyre is very sensitive, and you can see that with other teams as well – little steps can throw you off the grip curve.

"He’s putting the dots together and this has eventually led to better performance.”

Mercedes F1 non-executive chairman Lauda agreed that Bottas showed his true pace in Brazil as he finally has that he feels comfortable with.

“That’s the reason we’re happy,” he told Motorsport.com. “Because for Valtteri it’s the most important thing, that he’s proven what I’ve always known – that he’s bloody quick.

"We handicapped him with the behaviour of the car, over the last couple of races, which does not help a driver.

“Therefore it’s very important here that he has confidence in the car, the car is right for him, and he has pole position. He beat Vettel by one hundredth or whatever it is – it’s fantastic.

“He was the whole two days quick, which means the car is to his liking, and his driving style, and he made the best out of it with pole. Tomorrow he can fight with Ferrari in normal conditions.”

Regarding Hamilton’s crash, Lauda said: “Things can happen, you do mistakes, this is normal. But now we have an exciting race for him, starting last.

"He’s World Champion, everything is fine, and that’s it. He’ll have some fun tomorrow – we all will have fun tomorrow.”

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