Wolff admits current role a "mental setback" for Bottas

Toto Wolff believes that Valtteri Bottas has suffered a “mental setback” as Mercedes has inevitably focussed its efforts on winning the Formula 1 world championship with Lewis Hamilton.

Wolff admits current role a "mental setback" for Bottas

After showing well in Sochi, where he had to hand victory to his teammate, Bottas struggled to match Hamilton’s pace in Suzuka.

“I think we have to remind ourselves that for a race driver who is channelling all his efforts into winning races and the championship,” Wolff said of Bottas' Japanese Grand Prix when asked by Motorsport.com.

“If you take that ability away from him, it will automatically cause a little bit of a mental setback. He says he hasn’t got that, but I believe that will play a little part of it.

“He’s a tremendous team player and we cannot re-emphasize that enough. To give you an example, after Sochi in the evening we had a discussion.

"He said, ‘I completely understand why you did it and where the team's coming from. If I were in your shoes, I would do exactly the same. I need to outperform Lewis in the beginning of the season, and score more victories, and put myself in a position to fight for the championship. So, don't worry about me.’

“And today he struggled in traffic, many drivers referred to being in traffic as difficult and he was certainly one that suffered from that a bit.”

Wolff remains convinced that the Finn will bounce back and will have every chance to fight for the title himself.

“I think Valtteri will get one victory [this year], and don't you worry, I think Valtteri will get many more victories in his life. He will go into his third season with Mercedes next year, and will make another step.

“He will have learned and improved and see himself as a strong challenger for the championship and it’s exactly what we want. So that will come.”

Bottas said that securing at least one victory within this season would make a big difference.

“Personally, for sure, it is important,” he said when asked by Motorsport.com. “At the last race [in Russia] I felt like I performed like a winner, but having not won...

"It is something in the end, because if your teammate wins however many races in the season, and you win zero, it’s not ideal. We have four races left, four opportunities. We’ll see.”

Regarding his Suzuka weekend, he said: “I’m always still racing for the team. We are here to win the championship. It’s not like we’re cruising around there.

"Lewis needs to win the championship. I can’t win, so I’m willing to help.

“I’d rather have my teammate winning the title than anyone else. Also for us as a team, I want to get maximum points. We could not have done better today.”

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09 EQ Power+

Photo by: Manuel Goria / Sutton Images

shares
comments
Vettel: Ferrari made it "too easy" for Mercedes

Previous article

Vettel: Ferrari made it "too easy" for Mercedes

Next article

FIA: McLaren did not miss Japan tyre deadline

FIA: McLaren did not miss Japan tyre deadline
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Valtteri Bottas
Teams Mercedes
Author Adam Cooper
How F1's street track return can offer Verstappen redemption Prime

How F1's street track return can offer Verstappen redemption

Red Bull has failed to capitalise on having the best car in the opening rounds. BEN EDWARDS thinks change is around the corner.

The AlphaTauri improvements that mean Gasly’s form is no fluke Prime

The AlphaTauri improvements that mean Gasly’s form is no fluke

Pierre Gasly has driven superbly since demotion from Red Bull in 2019, but the team formerly known as Toro Rosso has come on strong too – building a car that can often challenge Ferrari and McLaren. Here Gasly reveals to ALEX KALINAUCKAS how AlphaTauri has given him the tools needed to rebuild his reputation

Formula 1
May 17, 2021
Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish” Prime

Why Bottas feels the time has come to be “more selfish”

We’ve seen five distinct versions of Valtteri Bottas at Mercedes as he’s tried to fulfil his own ambitions while being a consummate team player – two difficult, competing missions which have been challenging to reconcile. Speaking exclusively to Stuart Codling, Bottas explains his highs and lows… and why he still believes he can be world champion.

Formula 1
May 15, 2021
How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean? Prime

How long can Verstappen and Hamilton keep it clean?

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have been evenly matched so far in the 2021 Formula 1 title race. Neither has been afraid to get aggressive against each other on track, teeing up an enthralling contest as the year unwinds. But how long will their battle remain clean? Jonathan Noble ponders that exact point

Formula 1
May 13, 2021
How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner Prime

How Brabham’s one-hit wonder was boxed into a corner

The Brabham BT46B raced once, won once, then vanished – or did it? STUART CODLING reveals the story of the car which was never actually banned…

Formula 1
May 11, 2021
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

Formula 1
May 10, 2021
How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

Formula 1
May 10, 2021