After a “silly mistake” during the early stages of the Chinese Grand Prix, Valtteri Bottas will bounce back predicts Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.
Bottas had a solid debut for the team at the season opener in Melbourne and in Shanghai qualifying he was third fastest, a 1000th of a second shy of Sebastian Vettel in second.
But while lying third in the race, during the safety car period, he spun while warming his tyres and dropped down the order to mid-pack. Thereafter he spent the remainder of the race playing catch-up on his way to sixth place.
Reflecting on the race Wolff said, “He threw it away behind the safety car. He just needs to recover from that now. It was very slippery out there and he lost it – and that’s when the race was gone.
“It’s the second race of the season, there are 18 more – analyse and forget it,” mused the Silver Arrows team chief.
“You could see during the race that he had the pace. He was doing Lewis’s lap times at various stages, but once you’re losing so many positions and you’re not in the leading pack anymore, and you have to recover mentally, that is very difficult.”
“He certainly has the character to recover from such a situation,” claimed Wolff as the teams head off to Bahrain for the season’s first back-to-back races.
Bottas said after the race, “I apologised to everyone. It was a silly mistake; I guess these things happen but it feels pretty shit when it happens to you. The main thing is not to do it again and I’m glad Bahrain is already in one week.”