Wolff says Bottas “suffered a lot” from prioritising Hamilton in 2018

15-08-2019 14:33
by Bevan Youl
General
Wolff says Bottas “suffered a lot” from prioritising Hamilton in 2018

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has admitted that prioritising Lewis Hamilton towards the end of last year for the sake of the championship meant that Valtteri Bottas “suffered a lot” from a season that saw him without a win.

Bottas joined Mercedes in 2017 after Nico Rosberg announced his retirement from the sport, in which the Finn went on to win three races for the team in his first season with them.
 
However, 2018 proved much more difficult for the Finn as he could not manage higher than second place on seven occasions, and with team orders coming into play at some points towards the end for Hamilton to claim his fifth World Championship.
 
Wolff said to Formula 1: “He suffered a lot at the end of the year because not only were his performances not matching his expectations but also we didn’t really give him a chance because it was clear that everything needed to be behind Lewis in order to win the championship.
 
“And that can send you in a negative spiral. And I think what he managed is to recover. He went back to Finland, thought about things.
 
“I think he realised he had a tremendous opportunity in being a Mercedes works driver in Formula 1, what is at the moment the best car against the best driver out there.”
 
Bottas started this season off with a bang as he took the first win of the season in Australia, consecutive second place finishes and another win in Azerbaijan
 
“He came back with the mentality of saying ‘I’ve got to nail this, I’ve got the best I can’ and you can see that now. His qualifying performance is great,” Wolff added.
 
“He weighs the deficits that he had against Lewis and I think we are seeing a stronger Valtteri from race to race”

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