Toto Wolff has confirmed that Mercedes are close to imposing team orders on Valtteri Bottas as Lewis Hamilton battles Sebastian Vettel for the Formula 1 title. Wolff says the Silver Arrows will make a decision after this week's Italian Grand Prix, as the Finn's hopes of competing increasingly decrease.
Bottas has not won a race in 2018 and slipped 87 points off Hamilton atop the standings at the Belgian Grand Prix as he finished fourth.
The Finn was frustrated when Wolff labelled him the "perfect wingman" to Hamilton in Hungary, but he could fulfil that role in the closing races of the campaign, as Vettel and Ferrari appear to hold the upper hand on-track.
"I hate to do that. It's completely against my racing instinct," Wolff said.
"We try to be very neutral to both drivers. We haven't done it. We haven't done it yet. We haven't discussed it.
"Let's see how Monza pans out and how it goes. Then we will address the question as to whether we need to put all force behind one driver.
"But at the moment, we owe it to the two men and to Formula 1 to not interfere into the race."
Bottas fought his way through the field from 17th on the grid to finish fourth in Belgium, although a potential podium went up in smoke when he crashed into Sergey Sirotkin at the first turn and had to change his nose.
"It was a very good performance," said Wolff. "Obviously the wing didn't help at the beginning but you can see how difficult it is to overtake.
"There was a stage at lap 10 or so where it was difficult to find his way through the field against cars that were maybe two seconds offset in pace.
"But overall, I'm really happy when he put the other tyre on, which wasn't new, set the quickest lap time of the race at the end and finished in P4.
"I think this was the maximum to be achieved without the Safety Car mid-race, which I'm happy with."