Mercedes chief Toto Wolff believes Valtteri Bottas' season would have been very different had he not lost out on victory at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
Bottas has failed to win a race during the 2018 season but came very close in Azerbaijan and Russia. Whilst the latter was a team decision to swap driver positions with team-mate Lewis Hamilton in title contention and Bottas not, Baku was a victory lost in the closing laps through an unfortunate puncture.
Had Bottas won the race, he would have been just one point shy of then championship leader Sebastian Vettel and Wolff reckons the Finn's season would have been dramatically different as a result of the confidence boost.
"It would have been 25 points more for Valtteri that one race," said Wolff. "I think we would have gotten the Constructors’ Championship [sooner] but he would have been within a shot of the championship [this year]."
Wolff says he's had to play 'phychologist' to a degree this season to manage his drivers and the team, but applauded the atmosphere, particularly between Hamilton and Bottas which he described as night and day compared to that of Hamilton and Nico Rosberg who famously fell out on several occasions.
"I think I became a phychologist more than anything else in these last years because it’s about how you extract the best from your people.
“This is Alice in Wonderland compared to what we had before [with Rosberg]. They [Hamilton and Bottas] are yin and yang, all the talking happens on the track, there is nothing in the debrief, there is no politics.
"I’m not saying that in a negative way, every driver has his own way of trying to achieve success but Valtteri is an absolutely cool Finn. I don’t think he even realises if something is being manipulated. It’s a great relationship between the two."