Disappointed Bottas hurt by 'wingman' designation

Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari
© XPB 

Valtteri Bottas was not best pleased to be described as team mate Lewis Hamilton's 'wingman' in today's Hungarian Grand Prix.

While Hamilton took the lead at the start, the Finn ran in second place for much of the race. Hamilton was able to extend his advantage at the front while Bottas did everything he could to fend off both Ferraris who were on in fresher tyres.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff commended Bottas' incredible defensive driving, but his description of the Finn as a 'sensational wingman' went down badly.

"First of all, 'wingman' hurts," he complained. "Second of all I don't see any positives at all in this race for me.

"I wanted a better result. We felt in theory that we should have been able to do that one-stop, but we had to stop earlier than we wanted because of Kimi [stopping first] - we had to cover him.

"Still, 20 laps before the end everything was feeling okay. We could control the pace and my position. But then the rear tyres started to die. I tried to defend the best I could, as aggressively as I could.

"It just ended up being bit of a mess in the end with a broken front wing and everything," he sighed.

Bottas sustained damage when Sebastian Vettel passed him for the lead on lap 65, chopped in front of the Mercedes and making contact in the process.

"With Seb, he had a good run into turn 2," recalled Bottas. "We had a bit of a battle in turn 1.

"I still had my nose on the inside into turn 2, he was on the outside.

"He turned in very early for me. There was no where to go, so we touched. I was the only one who got damage, which is fair enough. I think racing incident."

The race stewards agreed with Bottas' estimation of the incident. However, the officials took a different view when it came to a second contact between Bottas and Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo after the race.

Bottas had been struggling to limp home in fourth place when he was caught by Ricciardo who had much faster pace. Ricciardo went around the outside of turn 1, but Bottas locked up and understeered into the side of the RB14.

"With Daniel pretty much a similar thing," insisted Bottas. "I was more next to him on the inside. I had no front half of my front wing so I was locking up as well.

"I'm sure he saw I was going quite quick into the corner but he still turned in, and then we touched."

The stewards gave Bottas a ten second penalty for causing the collision, although that did not affect his fifth place finish in today's race. He was also given two penalty points on his superlicence.

It means that Bottas is now in fourth place in the drivers standings and 81 points in arrears of Hamilton with nine races remaining in 2018.

It means that as much as the 'wingman' description might rankle with Bottas, it's almost certainly close to becoming a reality for the remainder of this season at least.

"I think we need to speak after this race," Bottas conceded. "We're over halfway through the year. The points gap is big, so I'm sure the team will decide at some point."

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