Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has warned Valtteri Bottas about another dip in form for his second season at the team when attentions turn to future F1 contracts.

Bottas has secured a fresh one-year deal with Mercedes for 2018 after impressing during his maiden season with the German manufacturer having been called in as an 11th-hour replacement for the retiring Nico Rosberg. Bottas notched up three race wins, four pole positions and 10 additional rostrum finishes in 2017 but couldn’t beat Sebastian Vettel to the runner-up spot in the Formula 1 drivers’ world championship to provide Mercedes with a clean sweep in 2017.

Wolff is eager to see the Finnish driver carry his momentum from a strong finish to this season into next year having notched up a win, two pole and two second places in three races, plus a repeat of his purple patch of form during the summer with five consecutive podiums including a win in Austria during the Canada to Hungary stretch of races.

“His confidence has been coming back in the last races and we saw a really good great qualifying in Brazil and a great qualifying in Abu Dhabi,” Wolff said. “We’ve never doubted Valtteri’s raw speed.

“You could see that the difficulties in the interaction with the tyres with the chassis and finding the optimum setup to have the tyrs in the sweet spot - this is something that has worked much better for Lewis albeit being very difficult.”

Wolff has also echoed his delight at seeing Bottas and Hamilton form a constructive team-mate relationship at Mercedes during this season. The partnership with Hamilton could also become a key factor to his future at the team assuming the four-time F1 world champion re-signs. Hamilton is currently in negotiations with Mercedes on a fresh three-year deal which is estimated to be worth £120m.

“I think it’s important to see that Valtteri continues what he has done in the first half of the year, what we have seen in Brazil and what we have seen in Abu Dhabi and then it’s a no brainer,” Wolff added. “We like working with Valtteri and with Lewis, the two fit well together, they have a good dynamic in the team and see no reason to change it if we continue on from where we are today.”

Comments

Loading Comments...