Wolff backs Bottas to recover quickly after mistake ends China podium hopes

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Mercedes Formula 1 chief Toto Wolff has backed Valtteri Bottas to bounce back from the mistake in Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix that ended his hopes of a podium finish.

Bottas qualified third on Saturday in Shanghai and held position off the line, only to drop back to fifth when Mercedes opted to double-stack its drivers in the pits when changing to dry tires.

Running behind the safety car, Bottas spun his car as he struggled to get heat into his tires, leaving him a lowly 12th.

While the Finn was able to fight his way back up the order and cross the line sixth, he was disappointed to have missed out on a better result.

“I’m very disappointed with today. I made a good start but it didn’t go so well from there,” Bottas said.

“Yes, we lost some time in the pit stop but it was nothing compared to what we lost with my mistake. I was trying everything I could to get temperature in the tyres behind the safety car but went too aggressive and lost control of the car.

“It was entirely my fault. I’m really sorry for the team and the points we lost today.”

Despite the mistake, Wolff is confident that Bottas has what it takes to put it behind him and bounce back next weekend in Bahrain.

“He threw it away behind the safety car. He just needs to recover from that now,” Wolff said, as quoted by the official F1 website.

“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 – analyze and forget it.

“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.”