Toto Wolff has urged second Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas to become more of an F1 "killer". After winning his fourth world championship, Lewis Hamilton is being hailed by his Mercedes chiefs. "It's been rock and roll with Lewis all year round," team boss Wolff is quoted by Dutch source Formule 1.
To La Gazzetta dello Sport, team chairman Niki Lauda agrees: "Our car was not the best this year. In the last three years, our advantage would even have made me world champion. But with the strong Ferrari this year it must be said that Lewis gave us the title and not the other way around," he added.
As for Bottas, the Finn's first season with Mercedes has been up and down. He had a solid start to 2017, but then entered a clear and admitted trough. "Valtteri has since slowly but surely recovered," Wolff insists. "But he still needs to be more of a killer."
He is almost certainly referring to Brazil, where despite starting from pole Bottas was passed at the start by Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel. Lauda said little except to insist that Bottas "deserved second place" last Sunday, while Jacques Villeneuve said almost being caught in the race by Hamilton - who started last - was "embarrassing" for the 28-year-old.
However, Wolff defended Bottas. "When Ferrari turned up the engine power at the end, you could see there was little difference between the cars," he said.
And Bottas said: "I am very disappointed. I lost it at the start. After that it was very close with them and I tried to put pressure on Sebastian but it didn't lead to anything. Obviously it's not good for me in the battle for second place in the championship. He's got quite a good lead now so we need some miracles in Abu Dhabi," he admitted. (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing