Wolff anticipates 'very strong' Bottas response after setback

Valtteri Bottas in action for Mercedes at the Monaco Grand Prix

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has backed Valtteri Bottas to return “very, very strong” in the wake of his worst result of the season at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Bottas missed out on pole position to team-mate Lewis Hamilton by just 0.086s and was then overhauled through the pit phase by Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel.

Bottas finished fourth on the road but was promoted to the lower step of the podium due to Verstappen’s time penalty.

He nonetheless slipped 17 points behind Hamilton in what is increasingly becoming an intra-team title fight.

“Valtteri 2019 is going to get out of this stronger,” asserted Wolff.

“I think he has shown huge resilience and determination in these last races.

“His speed was mind-blowing [in qualifying] and I have no doubt that this will annoy the hell out of him and he’s going to come back strong, very very strong, in Montreal.” 

Bottas’ third spot ended Mercedes’ streak of 1-2s but Wolff emphasised that the Finn had the overall pace to stand atop the podium.

“I think he could’ve won the race,” said Wolff of Bottas.

“Max lost a position because of the penalty and because of the manoeuvre, and Valtteri lost the second place, three points more lost, and Mercedes lost the 1-2.

“But then again, from the team’s point of view we are super happy with the 1-3.

“From Valtteri’s point, he will be gutted. He had the pace this weekend. He could’ve had pole in terms of raw speed and [in the race] was, P2 was the minimum I think. He was feeling this was taken away from him.”