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Mercedes seat for Bottas is a gift - Wolff

Mercedes seat for Bottas is a gift - Wolff

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Mercedes seat for Bottas is a gift - Wolff

Mercedes seat for Bottas is a gift - Wolff

Toto Wolff has provided a theory as to why Valtteri Bottas’ performances have improved in 2019 - the Finn realises he must take advantage of the “gift” he has received in driving for Mercedes.

Ahead of the new campaign, Bottas insisted he was more driven and intense than ever after the disappointments of 2018 in which he was nowhere in the title race against Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. He subsequently won two out of the opening four races this campaign, and currently sits second in the championship.

Even though he trails Hamilton again in the standings, he is a lot closer than he was this time last year, and Wolff has credited his new mentality as a key factor in the improvement.

“He suffered a lot at the end of the year as his performances did not match his expectations, but also we did not really give him a chance as it was clear that everything had to be put behind Lewis to win the championship,” the Silver Arrows team boss admitted to the official Formula 1 website.

“That can put you in a negative spiral. He has managed to recover. I think he realised he had a tremendous opportunity in being a Mercedes works driver in Formula in what is, at the moment, the best car against the best driver out there.”

“That is an amazing gift that has been given, an opportunity he has earned. He came back with a mentality saying 'I need to do the best I can' and you can see that now.”

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Wolff highlights Bottas’ results in qualifying as a barometer for his improvement from last year, and thinks he is getting better and better even though his last race win was some months ago.

“His qualifying performance are great and he has raised the deficits he had against Lewis. I think we are seeing a stronger Valtteri from race to race,” the Austrian added.

After the opening 12 races of the 2019 Formula 1 campaign, Bottas is 62 points adrift of championship leader Hamilton in second, while Dutchman Max Verstappen is behind him in third.

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