Bottas will 'think differently' next time he battles Hamilton

Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W10.
© XPB 

Valtteri Bottas has acknowledged that it's time to rethink how he deals with on-track battles with his Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton.

The Finn qualified on the front row of the grid for Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix. But he lost out in a wheel-to-wheel battle between the pair through the first three corners, locked up and ran wide rather than risk colliding with Hamilton.

“That’s how it goes,” Bottas said this week. "Next time [in a similar situation], where I lost I’ll think differently. But we both still have the respect, and we know the limits.

"Racing still can be good even though you don’t push others off the track," he continued. "If you do it nice and fair and hard, there still can be good respect.

"We're here as a team, we want to maximise the points, and we don’t want to compromise that side of things," he commented.

After running wide, Bottas then made contact with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc that damaged his front wing and dropped him out of contention for the rest of the afternoon.

"We had to stop early as a result and that really compromised my race," he explained. "I came out in traffic and lost a lot of time. I tried everything I could, but it was really tough to overtake.

"At least I got some points, but we'll analyse what happened and learn from it."

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB15; Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W10; and Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W10, at the start of the race.

While sharing Bottas' disappointment with how things had gone, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff was pleased that his drivers had handled their initial confrontation maturely. In particular he was relieved that the pair not taken each other out, as happened in the Hamilton/Rosberg years.

Wolff had already made his feelings plain on that sort of thing last month.

“I don't want to see anything of this in an intra-team battle," he said after witnessing some tough racing between Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc.

"Valtteri and Lewis, they respect each other off-track and they respect each other on-track," he had added. “I have no doubt that these guys know how to race each other."

Wolff stressed that what race stewards might deem acceptable between drivers from different team was certainly not going to be allowed at Mercedes between team mates.

“Even if the stewards deem the Leclerc and Verstappen incident at Austria correct, we don’t deem it correct within the team," he said. "We leave space, so we knew that wasn’t going to happen.

Toto Wolff (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 Shareholder and Executive Director.

"It was just a really unfortunate half-lap for him," Wolff continued, referring to the 'messy' start of Sunday's race for Bottas. "It was a disappointing day. He was so pumped for the race and his qualifying performance was great.

"But, the first lap didn't go well and from there it was tough for him to fight back through the field."

Overall, Wolff was still delighted by how the team fared in Hungary. While Bottas eventually recovered to eighth place, Hamilton went on to score a magnificent victory over long time race leader Max Verstappen, largely thanks to the team's strategy calls.

"What an unbelievable comeback," he said of Hamilton's victory. "This is why we love the sport. You are holding onto moments like this, where it's an unexpected result and this is why it feels so great.

"We didn't think it would go this way but the strategy team did so well and made great calls.

"It has been a fantastic first half of the season, with ten wins from 12 races. We will use the break to recharge our batteries - and hopefully return even stronger in Spa."

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