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Wolff adamant Bottas error "doesn't influence" Mercedes driver decision

Wolff adamant Bottas error "doesn't influence" Mercedes driver decision

Wolff adamant Bottas error "doesn't influence" Mercedes driver decision

Wolff adamant Bottas error "doesn't influence" Mercedes driver decision
Ian Parkes & Ewan Gale

Toto Wolff has insisted Valtteri Bottas' error that triggered a mass pile-up at the first corner of the Hungarian Grand Prix will have no bearing on Mercedes' driver line-up decision.

Mercedes has previously identified the summer break as the time when it would choose between Bottas and Williams driver George Russell to partner Lewis Hamilton in 2022.

Bottas' place with the team is seemingly on a knife-edge given the fact the Finn sits only fourth in the drivers' standings, and has only once finished in the top two in 11 races.

While Bottas' braking misjudgment ended the races of McLaren's Lando Norris and Sergio Perez in his Red Bull, in contrast, Russell made the most of the situation to score his first points in F1 as a Williams driver by finishing eighth.

Asked whether the misjudgement, which has earned Bottas a five-place penalty for the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of August, would affect contract negotiations, Wolff retorted: "It doesn't influence the decision at all.

"The mistake was unfortunate with big consequences. He got sandwiched by the two cars in front and lost downforce and then it was already too late."

Mercedes "karma" meant race win was not deserved

The incident triggered a red-flag period that was ultimately the basis for Hamilton losing the race.

The original race start was held in damp conditions but on the reconnaissance lap to the grid for the standing restart, every driver bar polesitter Hamilton in the then 15-car field pitted for slick tyres after they deemed the track to be sufficiently dry.

This meant Hamilton surrendered the lead when switching from his own intermediate tyres a lap later, forcing the seven-time champion into a spirited comeback drive to third at the flag, before being promoted to second following Sebastian Vettel's disqualification.

On the decision to stay out for the standing restart, Wolff said: "I think [it was] 100 per cent the right decision and I stand by it. You need to make the call out there and judge if it is dry enough or not.

"I thought we have done one lap, it couldn't possibly dry up as it did and in the end, you have to take it on the chin. It was the wrong outcome but the decision was right.

"Maybe with karma, maybe we didn't deserve to win and take 25 points."

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