Valtteri Bottas had a “brilliant weekend” at Formula 1’s British Grand Prix, according to Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, who praised his team work.
Bottas qualified in third position on Friday and went on to maintain that position through Saturday’s inaugural Sprint.
Bottas relinquished third to Charles Leclerc at the start, re-gained the spot when Max Verstappen crashed out following a clash with Lewis Hamilton, but lost a place to Lando Norris at the restart.
A slow stop for Norris promoted Bottas to third, which became second when Hamilton served a penalty – though Mercedes reversed their positions due to the Briton’s superior pace.
Bottas went on to classify third for the fifth time this season.
“He had a brilliant weekend in my opinion because he could have been on pole if he would have had a tow on Friday night and that was obviously impacting his performance,” explained Wolff. “If you’re on pole it’s much easier.
“And he was very quick [in the race], he drove a really solid race and just Lewis coming from behind on that Hard [tyre] was just in another dimension to everyone else on track.
“But Valtteri was the second-quickest car out there and helped for Lewis to secure the way and Valtteri’s just a great team member and great driver with the right character and personality.”
Wolff explained the swift radio call to order Bottas not to hinder Hamilton’s charge towards victory.
Bottas, without a victory in 2021, is now 77 points behind Verstappen.
“It is very important because statistically his odds to win the championship are very small compared to Lewis, who is very much in the fight,” said Wolff.
“And we have discussed that, and as tough as it is for a driver, there is no room for margin here in this year’s championship.”