Toto Wolff has urged Valtteri Bottas to discover ‘the tick of a killer’ to make his next step forward in his Formula 1 development at Mercedes.

The Finnish driver messed up his start from pole position for the Brazilian Grand Prix to slip behind Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel into turn one and despite an aggressive undercut tactic he ultimately failed to find the pace to challenge the German driver for victory at Interlagos.

Wolff has been encouraged by Bottas’s maiden F1 year at Mercedes having been a late replacement for the retired Nico Rosberg with two race wins in Russia and Austria along with three pole positions in Bahrain, Austria and Brazil.

But the Finn looks set to miss out on the runner-up spot in the drivers’ standings, therefore denying Mercedes a clean sweep in 2017, with a 22-point deficit to Vettel with one race remaining.

Consequently, Wolff wants Bottas to uncover a stronger edge to his race craft in 2018 to mount a more sustained challenge for Mercedes next season.

“I think Lewis all year has been rock and roll and Valtteri has recovered slowly but still needs the tick of a killer,” Wolff said. “But you must not underestimate that in traffic against the Ferraris it was really difficult [in Brazil].

“He is not satisfied with the Brazil race because Lewis was rock and roll this year it was difficult for him to shine. He will recover now before Abu Dhabi and start afresh next season.”

Despite Wolff’s calls for improvement from Bottas he has reiterated his delight at his two drivers’ partnership at Mercedes after a turbulent relationship at Mercedes between Hamilton and Rosberg.

“The combination of the two is really good and they have a great dynamic,” he said. “Within the team that is helpful and it is a healthy rivalry which is just what is needed between team-mates.”

 

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