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Bottas wasn't 'sacrificed' insists Wolff

NEWS STORY
06/06/2021

As Valtteri Bottas admits to having no explanation for his lack of pace in Baku, Toto Wolff insists the Finn wasn't sacrificed in favour of his teammate in qualifying.

With Nikita Mazepin one of the few to keep it on the black stuff during qualifying, the Twitterati instead turned its attention to Mercedes, claiming that (according to them) soon to be dumped Valtteri Bottas had been 'sacrificed' by Mercedes, forced to run ahead of his world champion teammate in Q3 and thereby give him the tow necessary in order to qualify as high up the grid as possible.

Team boss, Toto Wolff was keen to shoot down the social media speculation.

"Since the beginning of the joint journey with Valtteri and Lewis, we toss a coin, who would have the choice if he's running first the second on the road," said the Austrian.

"This weekend it was Lewis' turn to choose whether he runs first or second on the road and he chose second obviously. So this is the same system. It alternates from race to race between the drivers."

Referring to the fact that both drivers ran different rear wings, Wolff insists that this wasn't a factor in the Finn's performance which leaves him tenth on the grid.

"I don't think it was a big disparity today," he said. "Tomorrow it might have a slight effect.

"The difference was that the car was very tricky all weekend," he added, "and somehow Lewis found the confidence for qualifying and Valtteri struggled.

"On a circuit like this one, that is important. You can see that in Monaco Valtteri had it, and was feeling fine. So the rear wing doesn't explain any of the differences."

"It was pretty messy as expected with the red flags, yellow flags everything," said the Finn, who is clearly flummoxed by his lack of pace. "From my side, the last run I missed like many others, but something is still not right. I'm so far off the pace and I have no clue why. I have no explanation.

"Coming here, I thought we would be fighting at the front. Lewis is at the front, in the fight, and I should be as well. I have no explanation. I think something is wrong."

Revealing that he is "losing time in every corner", Bottas added: "If I push harder, I'm in the wall. So that's the limit.

"I will try to understand everything I can, with this race, anything can happen," he insisted. "There will be opportunities."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Baku, here.

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