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Bottas has to 'justify' Mercedes seat

Bottas has to 'justify' Mercedes seat

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Bottas has to 'justify' Mercedes seat

Bottas has to 'justify' Mercedes seat

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff says Valtteri Bottas will have to "justify" his place on the roster, with added scrutiny set to fall on the Finn in 2019. Bottas went winless across the 2018 campaign, despite Mercedes securing a fifth consecutive constructors' championship.

While Lewis Hamilton won 11 grands prix and a fifth drivers' crown, Bottas struggled to make an impact on the championship.

Esteban Ocon's return to Mercedes as a reserve driver in 2019 is set to put the pressure on even further and Wolff says Bottas must deliver to keep his seat.

"Every racing driver in a Formula 1 car has to look over his shoulder. It is a very brutal sport where only the best ones survive and they are very well aware," Wolff told Reuters.

"They have made the selection of the top 20 racing drivers in the world and every single year they have to justify that they deserve the place. It is not only valid for Valtteri but all the others as well."

Bottas saw chances to win in Shanghai and Baku slip through his fingers in the early rounds of 2018 before a likely win was taken away by Mercedes ordering him to let Hamilton through.

Wolff says those performances prove that Bottas can fight back next year.

"Valtteri is a fierce warrior and he wouldn't be where he is today if he was not an outstanding racing driver," said the Austrian.

"I think he absolutely embraces the challenge of being team mate and competitor to Lewis Hamilton.

"I think where things have gone wrong with Valtteri in 2018 was that he was very unlucky. He could have, should have — but that doesn't count — won three races."

MORE: Bottas doesn't fear Ocon rumours
MORE: Bottas puncture in Baku was 'shameful'

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