Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2020

Radio encouragement from Wolff was “a personal thing”, says Bottas

2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Valtteri Bottas said Toto Wolff’s words of encouragement on his radio during qualifying followed talks between the pair ahead of this weekend.

Unlike some team principals, Wolff rarely speaks on the team’s radio channels during sessions, which he has said is a deliberate decision. His rare appearances on the radio have usually been to congratulate a driver on a victory.

But he broke with that convention during today’s qualifying session, addressing Bottas in between his two runs in the final pole position shoot-out. “All you have, Valtteri,” Wolff urged.

Bottas took provisional pole position with his subsequent run, pipping team mate Lewis Hamilton by less than a tenth of a second. However he narrowly lost pole to Max Verstappen, who went just 25 thousandths of a second quicker and denied Bottas what would have been his sixth pole position this year.

Asked why Wolff had taken the unusual step of communicating to him during qualifying, Bottas said: “He can always talk to us if he wants.

“The last days we’ve had a chat about different things. We’re a team and we support each other. If we feel like you can support another person in the team with encouragement or certain words, you do it.

“I would do the same for any team member. So nothing more than that. I think it’s more of a personal thing.”

Wolff told Sky the change in radio communications was something the pair had spoken about. “It’s always tricky when you talk to the driver before qualifying or the race, but it’s something we discussed. He said I need a little feedback from you.”

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2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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9 comments on “Radio encouragement from Wolff was “a personal thing”, says Bottas”

  1. It seems like business as usual, except Hamilton was slow.

    1. Lewis Hamilton- below par because Ms Angela Cullen is absent.
      This remarkable physio is more than that – trainer, dietician, morale booster, Chauffeuse, Girl Friday.
      Has she gone to her family in Switzerland until the F1 season starts in March 2021?
      There’s a massive hole in his personal circle. Bring her back. Immediately, if not sooner.

  2. Well, might well have been a ‘I believe in you, we both know you can do it, never give up’ message, but I guess many of us took it quite differently. If it is the first, well done (must be a bit tiresome for all of them to have us analyze every last word or hand movement, right!).

    Could say Hamilton wasn’t 100% on it etc. and also he did not get pole but records will say he beat a teammate two races in a row, and maybe that’s what Bottas should keep in his mind too. Hope he has a solid race without bad luck or stuff happening like he seemed to have in the last four or five races so he can finish with a good result and take that into next year.

  3. *Thursday Morning in Abu Dhabi*
    TW: C’mon Bottas tell me what’s wrong
    VB: You know what’s wrong you been going behind my back spending all that time with George
    TW: We’ve been over this, it was just for work. You know I needed his help last weekend that’s all it was.
    VB: Oh really? Then what was with all this “A star is born” talk?
    TW: So that’s what this is about. Look you know I think you’re a good driver that’s why I committed to you in front of the whole world to see for next year.
    VB: Well Ok, but would it hurt you to support me more often and I shouldn’t have to ask.
    *Saturday*
    TW: …All you have, Valtteri,

    1. ah, the fly on the wall

  4. Sounded like a demand or threat more than anything. ‘Last race of the season, we’ve just had an amazing driver try out our cars, you better make this good’

    1. A disturbance if nothing else just before the run

  5. One point on “it is the car” question without touching HAM: Since joining Mercedes BOT finished 3rd, 5th, 2nd, 2nd on the championship and will probably finish 2nd this year. Is Bottas the second best driver on the grid on those last three years? Do celebrate HAM but be aware that Mercedes simply solved the formula with the hybrid PU.

  6. If Bottas needs Toto to encourage him before qualifying and he can’t motivate himself, he probably doesn’t deserve to be in the best car on the grid. I’m sure Russell doesn’t need Toto to boost him up. Hamilton certainly doesn’t. Hamilton appears to take the Michael Jordan route of taking the slightest perceived slight that is real or imagined and using it as motivation to dominate his rivals.

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