Valtteri Bottas needs to improve his tyre management in the same way he has improved his qualifying performance, according to Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.
“Valtteri has shown great pace on a single lap,” said Wolff. “I think he’s ramped up his game tremendously over last season to this season.
“Now the second weakness he needs to attack is the tyre management. He’s very aware of that, where he needs to improve.
“There are tracks where he’s as strong as Lewis or has been stronger when it’s not rear-limited or slip-limited and on the tracks where that is more a factor he just needs to change the driving style. And that is not trivial for a racing driver but he has all the abilities to do that.”
Both Mercedes drivers encountered problems with their tyres during the race. “We were suffering with some front tyres blistering in the last stint,” said Bottas, “so we were a little bit concerned and just wanted to be on the safe side so we would definitely make it to the end without any failure on the front tyre.
“So had take care a lot of the fronts in many of the corners and maybe being a lot on the conservative side, losing some big chunks of time, just by managing and being on the safe side. And in the end, that’s why it became a bit close with Charles [Leclerc], closer than we wanted. After the VSC we struggled a bit to restart the tyres and lost some temperature.”
However Wolff does not believe Hamilton’s emphatic win last weekend shows he has ‘broken’ his team mate. “I hope not and we will so everything in order to make sure that Valtteri is in a good place,” he said.
“I think he knows this we will absolutely make sure and we’re trying to give both of them equal material, equal opportunity. With a decent start in some of the last races he could have won two of them and he knows that. So I’m optimistic that Valtteri just needs one good weekend in order to come close again to Lewis and not let him run away with the championship.”
Bottas now trails Hamilton by 36 points in the title fight.
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