Hungarian Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas says he was ‘hurt’ by comments from his boss Toto Wolff, regarding him being a wingman for the team.
Update: Valtteri Bottas has been given a ten second time penalty for his collision with Daniel Ricciardo. This doesn’t change his finishing position of P5. Also receives two penalty points on his superlicence.
Bottas finished P5 in the race in Hungary, having run in P2 for most of the race. Starting alongside polesitter and teammate Lewis Hamilton and on the same tyres, Bottas was a handful of seconds behind Hamilton on Lap 15 when he was brought in early to cover off Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who had pitted the lap before. Hamilton didn’t pit for a further ten laps.
As a result of his early stop, Bottas was in position to hold up the two Ferraris for a large section of the race while Hamilton sprinted clear at the front but, with his tyres fading badly, Bottas was powerless to stop Vettel getting past close to the chequered flag. but damaged his car when he collided with the rear of the Ferrari as Vettel swooped past.
Shortly after, Bottas ran into the charging Daniel Ricciardo as the Red Bull got alongside on the outside of Turn 1. With reduced downforce and grip from his damage, as well as his old Soft tyres, Bottas slid into the side of the Red Bull. While the Finn escaped punishment for the Vettel incident, he has been summoned before the stewards to explain the Ricciardo collision.
Speaking after the race, Toto Wolff referred to Bottas as a ‘sensational wingman’ for the team. Coming just seven days after being told to hold station behind Lewis Hamilton while on considerably fresher tyres in the closing stages at Hockenheim, an unhappy Bottas said: “First of all, ‘wingman’ hurts. I don’t see any positives from this race for me. I wanted a better result. We thought we’d be able to do the one stop but we were forced to pit earlier than we wanted because we needed to cover off Kimi.”
The Finn alluded to the fact he hasn’t been asked to act as a rear gunner to Hamilton yet, but said: “We need to speak after this race. We’re over halfway through the year and the points gap is big so the team will have to decide at some point.”
Explaining his perspective of the collision with Vettel, he said: “With twenty laps to go, it was still fine. The tyres were good, I was able to control the pace and then the tyres just died. I tried to defend as much as I could and as aggressively as I could but it was a bit of a mess in the end.”