Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes Valtteri Bottas’ mistake at the Hungarian Grand Prix, which caused a huge pile-up on the opening lap of the race, will have no influence on whether or not he stays at the team next season.
Bottas, who lined up second on the grid, got out of shape on lap one, missing his braking point entirely and smashing into the back of McLaren’s Lando Norris. The crash caused issues for Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen in the Red Bull, with the red flag being shown early on.
Verstappen was able to continue, albeit with a limping car, however, it was the end of the day for Bottas, Perez, and Norris who were all out of the race.
The Finn subsequently picked up a five-place grid penalty for the Belgium Grand Prix after the summer break for causing a collision.
Bottas is fighting tooth and nail to keep his seat at Mercedes after rumours they may axe him for Williams driver George Russell, however, when asked if this could affect the decision of the team next season, Wolff was adamant it would have no bearing.
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“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.”
With the race red-flagged, conditions quickly changed in Hungary, with the original race start taking place under damp conditions after rain in Budapest. It meant each driver was on the wrong set of tyres for the restart, with all teams, bar Hamilton, diving into the pits to start the race from the pit lane on a pair slicks.
Mercedes, meanwhile, took a gamble, which ultimately didn’t payout, by keeping the seven-time world champion on the same intermediate tyres, surrendering the lead of the race, and cutting a very lonely figure as the only car to take the lights at the restart.
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