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Wolff doesn't want Bottas to feel pressure after crash

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Wolff doesn't want Bottas to feel pressure after crash
By:
Mar 24, 2018, 4:33 PM

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff says he will not allow Valtteri Bottas to feel that he is under any extra pressure to deliver, despite his crash in Australian Grand Prix qualifying.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG F1
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09
Toto Wolff, Mercedes AMG F1 Director of Motorsport
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes-AMG F1 W09
Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes AMG F1 W09

Bottas’ shunt in Q3 in Melbourne has come on a weekend when he has been unable to match the pace of teammate Lewis Hamilton.

And with the Finn’s contract up for renewal at the end of the year, a difficult start to the campaign will have done him few favours in proving he is the right man for the job.

Wolff is adamant however that he has full faith in his driver, even though he accepts that the qualifying incident will not have been good for his confidence.

“This is a moment where you could start to question yourself,” said Wolff. “This in race one is not good for the psychology of the drivers.

"We're trying to give him all the support we can, and obviously it’s very early days for our team championship. Starting P15 in Melbourne is obviously not an easy starting position.”

When asked what he could do in terms of helping support Bottas, Wolff said: “Well, just show understanding for the situation, and not on the contrary increase the pressure.”

Wolff’s emotions when he saw Bottas crashing during qualifying were captured on television – but he said that the moment was more about feeling bad for the Finn rather than his own disappointment.

“My reaction with the F-word was probably about the psychological effect it could have on Valtteri," said Wolff.

"Lewis was faster throughout the session and then in the last run before that, he put sector two and especially sector three together, and he had a purple sector three.

“He lacked in sector one. And you know where you need to gain time, you carry enough speed into Turn 1, the grip is not there and you shunt it into the wall.”

Bottas himself said he was not too dejected about what had happened – and would not let the situation get to him.

“Honestly it’s not too bad,” he said. “Of course initially it was very disappointing but I'm already looking forward to the race.

“I accept it's one mistake and like I said it can happen anywhere. Sometimes you get away with it, this time I didn't. Everybody makes mistakes so there's no big word inside my head.

"I'm just looking forward to tomorrow. In the next qualifying I'll go flat out again and take risks.”

Additional reporting by Adam Cooper

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