Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said he was especially pleased with Valtteri Bottas’ dominant Australian Grand Prix victory as he believes some people had been too quick to write the Finn off after his disappointing end to last season.
In his second season with the team last year, Bottas failed to win a single race and finished a distant fifth in the championship while team-mate Lewis Hamilton secured a fifth world drivers’ title win.
Wolff feels that Bottas was able to re-discover the joy of driving over the winter and that’s been crucial to him finding his confidence again.
“[I’m] very pleased, especially [after] the second half of last season, he was completely written off,” Wolff told Sky Sports.
“People didn’t think that he has up to the job and he bounces back in the most dominant way, completely in control of the whole weekend.
“I remember his early days in Formula Renault and Formula 3, he was really the benchmark and would destroy everybody, but somehow that was lost last year.
“When he came back after the winter he said “I’m back!” and I think he re-discovered the joy of driving with his rally outing and mentally he’s strong.”
Wolff added that Mercedes were surprised by Ferrari’s poor pace this weekend but defended his team’s call to pit Hamilton early as he felt Sebastian Vettel could still have been a threat to their position.
“I think we were surprised that we had such a good pace and we were surprised that they didn’t have any pace at all and the truth is maybe somewhere in the middle,” said Wolff.
“I don’t think it was a mistake [to pit Hamilton early] because we could have ended up behind Vettel not doing that.
“I don’t know why they pitted [Vettel] so early, that put us under pressure but we needed to cover that undercut.”
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