Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has moved to clarify his ‘wingman’ description of Valtteri Bottas which he felt was taken out of context following the Hungarian Grand Prix.

With Lewis Hamilton leading the race and Bottas in second, the Finn looked to defend against Sebastian Vettel in the closing stages but with his Ferrari rival on fresher and faster Ultrasoft tyres it saw the German driver move ahead after the pair made contact, which also allowed Kimi Raikkonen past.

Hungarian GP - Driver Ratings

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More misery was to follow for Bottas when he collided with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo before limping to the finish down in fifth place.

Wolff described Bottas as a ‘sensational wingman’ to Hamilton immediately after the race which Bottas says he was ‘hurt’ by when speaking to Sky Sports F1. The Mercedes chief feels his words were taken out of context as he was referring to just race strategy in Hungary rather than the overall Formula 1 world championship.

“[It is] being completely spun out of control in a wrong way,” Wolff said. “In the race, starting P2 after lap one, Valtteri’s race was the perfect wingman’s race. I don’t mean it in championship terms, we have no number one and number two.

“It was just how he was racing, from my standpoint the best race so far with Valtteri at Mercedes in the last three years. The bittersweet feeling I have is he would have deserved to have finished P2.

“It was where he started and where was after lap one but as you say, maybe the word wingman doesn’t do him justice. He drove a sensational race and helped Lewis in a way to build a lead.”

The latest incident continues Bottas’s run in a frustrating season for the Finn having seen opportunities for victory slip away at the Chinese Grand Prix and Azerbaijan Grand Prix while he was also hit by Vettel on the opening lap of the French Grand Prix which dropped him down the order.

Bottas remains fourth in the F1 world drivers’ standings but 81 points off Mercedes teammate and championship leader Hamilton.

 

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