Toto Wolff has spoken out against the speculation surrounding Valtteri Bottas’ future, blaming the attention on the heavily cited one-year long contract that the Finn is on.
Bottas secured his first ever win in Formula 1 after just four races at Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team. But his struggles in Bahrain despite securing pole position and a poor performance in China had led to multiple opinions being aired about his future and potential.
Wolff believes that all of the speculation derives from his year-long contract, which has been public knowledge since the season started.
“It’s crazy that someone speculates about his position after three races,” he said. “You need to give the guy time. He was an outstanding driver in the junior categories, he was at Williams for a long time and there wasn’t one year where he wasn’t performing compared to his teammate.
“Now he took up a risky move to be Lewis Hamilton’s teammate, take over the reigning world champion’s car and I think he has done a very good job.
“He has been on pole once and won the race [in Russia], with a lot of pressure from Sebastian behind. Fantastic start, fantastic pace on the ultrasoft at the beginning of the race and I think he is a very deserved winner.”
As Bottas managed to regain his composure following the Chinese Grand Prix, Wolff believes he will be equally as composed now after his win as he understands the threat posed by Scuderia Ferrari.
“In the same way the bad luck or the mishaps have no effect on long-term performance, I don’t think he’s going to be exuberant about winning [in Russia],” he continued.
“He’s going to be very happy about his first F1 victory – that’s a milestone he achieved but now it’s about looking forward. We have so many things we have to look at and understand, try to find out how we can optimize the performance of the car because we have a real fight.”
Mercedes lead Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship by a single point.