Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff believes Valtteri Bottas can take pride from his qualifying performances compared to teammate Lewis Hamilton but feels with his race craft he’s still “getting there”.

Bottas has claimed the most pole positions so far this season with four, against Hamilton’s three, including most recently at the British Grand Prix while the overall record sees the reigning F1 world champion ahead 6-4 going into today’s qualifying at Hockenheim.

Given Hamilton’s record as F1’s all-time highest pole-sitter, Mercedes chief Wolff feels Bottas has made clear progress in qualifying but underlines further improvements are needed in his race performances.

“From my point of view, the performances in qualifying are really strong. Having an almost balanced record against Lewis Hamilton is something to be proud of and shows that he has made a step-up from last year,” Wolff said.

“Racing, again, is a different exercise. I think this year’s theme is all about keeping the car and the tyres in the sweet spot. That means you maybe need to drive the car in a different way.

“He’s getting there. He’s getting better and better. We have seen a race in Silverstone where, if the Safety Car had come out in a different way, he would have challenged for the race win.

“But the ifs don’t count. You need to bring it to the end – but I’m sure we will see Valtteri continue to improve and bring in good race performances.”

Bottas trails Hamilton by 39 points at the top of the F1 world drivers’ championship after the opening 10 rounds.

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