Crashing out of the race and off the podium in Germany, Toto Wolff says Valtteri Bottas lost a good opportunity to put his title bid into recovery mode.
Bottas was one of seven drivers who failed to finish Sunday’s 64-lap German Grand Prix, crashing out in the wet conditions.
Up until that point the Finn had put in a solid display at a wet Hockenheimring and was hounding Lance Stroll for a spot on the podium.
That ended in tears when Bottas spun off the track and into the barrier.
“I think in his championship battle he could have had a decent amount of points today to catch up to Lewis,” Wolff told Crash.net.
“Whether it was 12, 15 or 18 points but I think it should have been 18 points and I think that would have been a jump but it did not happen.
“We are mid-term and there are plenty more points to score but he had a good chance today to recover.
“I think when you race in F1 you can feel the pain of days like this and beat yourself up a bit but you need to recover if you want to be a race winner and championship winner.
“You need to come back strong even from this very low and Valtteri has shown in the past that he has been able to do that.”
— iGP Manager (@iGPManager) July 28, 2019
His crash could not have come at a worse time as earlier in the week Wolff admitted that Mercedes have yet to decide whether to re-sign Bottas for 2020 and risk losing reserve driver Esteban Ocon to another team for at least two years.
But with his team-mate Lewis Hamilton also in the barriers on Sunday, although not retiring, Wolff acknowledged that swapping to slicks played a role in Bottas’ off.
“It was a very knife edge call to pit for slicks, particularly as the last sector was very wet,” he said.
“In hindsight it was the wrong thing to do but we are always more intelligent after the race.
“I think they knew [Charles] Leclerc was in the wall but I wouldn’t want to pin it to one decision or incident there were a multitude of things that went wrong.”
Hamilton still managed to score two points in Germany to bring his tally up to 225 and extend his lead over Bottas to 41 points.