Mercedes will do “everything” to make sure Valtteri Bottas remains in a “good place”, according to Formula 1 team boss Toto Wolff.

Bottas made his best-ever start to an F1 season to lead the championship after picking two wins from the opening four races, but he has been unable to prevent teammate Lewis Hamilton from picking up four victories on the spin.

A mixed bag of results since Baku has resulted in the Finn falling 36 points behind Hamilton in the drivers’ standings, while he has not claimed a pole position since May’s Spanish Grand Prix.

Asked if he felt Hamilton’s recent run has broken Bottas, Wolff replied: “No I hope not, and we will do everything in order to make sure Valtteri is in a good place.

“He knows that we are absolutely neutral and we are trying to give both of them equal material and equal opportunity.

“With a decent start in some of the last few races he could have won one or two of them, and he knows that.

“I’m optimistic that Valtteri just needs to one good weekend to come closer again to Lewis and not let him run away with the championship.”

And Wolff reckons Bottas finds himself up against "maybe the best driver that has ever existed" in the shape of five-time world champion Hamilton, whose French Grand Prix marked the 79th win of his career. 

"In general in the United Kingdom, Lewis is not recognised how he should be recognised," Wolff said. 

"One day he's going to stop his career, with multiple records, and people will say 'he was the greatest driver on the planet and we were witnesses of that journey, and wasn't he an interesting personality with all the things he did?'.

"But for whatever reason there is this idea of hitting out, which maybe it provides the better headline, maybe it sells more newspapers, or gives more clicks.

"I don't think it recognises the opportunity that we are part of, to see maybe the best driver that has ever existed on an exceptional journey."

Bottas conceded tyre management struggles hampered his pace in France, as he trailed Hamilton by nearly 20 seconds.

Despite the significant margin in both qualifying and the race, Bottas insists Hamilton is not “unbeatable”.

“It’s something I need to look at,” Bottas said. “He was really strong and consistent, and also in qualifying. He’s not unbeatable; I know that. I just need work hard."



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