Abu Dhabi start will be "different ball game" for Bottas

Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff has suggested that Valtteri Bottas has learned from his start in the Brazilian GP, and that the Finn won’t make the same mistake in Abu Dhabi, where he is again on pole position.

Abu Dhabi start will be "different ball game" for Bottas
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF70H, Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W08, Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF70H, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB13, Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL32, the rest of the field at the start
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 with the media
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-Benz F1 W08

At Interlagos, the Finn left space for Sebastian Vettel to slip through on the inside, and that proved a decisive move as the Ferrari driver went on to win the race.

On Sunday Bottas will have teammate Lewis Hamilton right behind him as he seeks his third victory of the 2017 season.

"His confidence has been coming back in the last races," said Wolff. "And we saw a really great qualifying in Brazil, and a great qualifying here.

"But the start [in Brazil] was certainly something he will beating him himself up about.

"The tricky bit is you don't really see in the rear mirrors, so he struggled to understand where Sebastian was, and didn't want to take any risks.

"Maybe Sunday is going to be a different ball game."

Wolff said the car was much more to Bottas' liking in Abu Dhabi, and that contributed to him beating his teammate.

"We have never doubted in Valtteri's raw speed. You could see that again today," Wolff said. "The difficulty is the interaction with the tyres and just finding the optimum set up to have the tyre in the sweet spot.

"This is something that has worked much better for Lewis, albeit also very difficult. Valtteri has hit that sweet spot today."

Asked what Bottas will have to do next season to secure the seat for 2019, Wolff said: "It is important to see that he continues what he does in the first half year, what we have seen in Brazil, what we have seen today, and then it's a no-brainer.

"We like working with Valtteri and with Lewis, the two fit well together. We have good dynamics in the team and no reason to change it if we continue on where we are today," he added.

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