Bottas’s weekend in Austin was compromised after he was forced to take his third engine penalty in four races for exceeding his allocation of power unit components amid Mercedes’ continued battle with reliability concerns. 

He started ninth after qualifying behind both Red Bulls and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton and could only recover to sixth, behind Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc and Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren. 

With Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez finishing either side of the second-placed Hamilton on the podium, Red Bull was able to reduce Mercedes’ advantage in the constructors’ championship down to 23 points with five races remaining.

Despite Bottas’s struggles to make progress in the race, Wolff dismissed the suggestion that the Finn dropped points which could end up proving costly to Mercedes later down the line. 

“Valtteri didn’t drop any points,” Wolff said. 

“It was always very clear that it would be difficult from where he started because of the engine penalty to make it back to the sharp end. He’s performed brilliantly in the last race and I think he’s done very well here [Austin]. 

“So we just need to keep it up as a team, both drivers need to score and I have no doubt that Valtteri will be a strong contributor not only to a constructors’ championship but also the drivers’ championship.”

Bottas lost significant time stuck behind Yuki Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri in the first stint and conceded making up ground was always going to prove tricky. 

“It was difficult, like I expected,” Bottas explained. “What made it more tricky in the first stint was being behind the AlphaTauris, as I couldn’t get by. 

“Obviously that lost me quite a bit of time, and, unfortunately there was no help with Safety Cars or something. So I made some progress but quite slowly.”