Winner of the Turkish Grand Prix, Toto Wolff hopes Valtteri Bottas stays in form and that he can be “very helpful” for Lewis Hamilton’s title quest.
Hamilton is engaged in a thrilling battle with Max Verstappen for this year’s Drivers’ Championship title, the Mercedes driver trailing the Red Bull man by six points with six races remaining.
In a season that has seen the pendulum swing between the two, Verstappen regained the lead last time out in Turkey as he finished P2 with Hamilton in fifth place.
It, however, could have been a lot worse for the Brit had his team-mate Bottas not won the grand prix, denying Verstappen a further seven points.
Wolff feels Bottas has a big role to play in this year’s title race.
“His form was unbelievable in Turkey,” Wolff said in Austin.
“For me it is really a 10 out of 10, and he seemed pretty good today. Comfortable, at ease with the car.
“If he can continue to maintain his pace that is very helpful, not only for the Constructors’ Championship but also for Lewis’ championship because he is taking points away from the other guys.”
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Hamilton had the early lead in this year’s championship before losing that to Verstappen in Monaco. So began the momentum swings between the two protagonists, one that many believe could last until the final lap of the season in Abu Dhabi.
With six races left to run there are still 159 points in play but a DNF for either Hamilton or Verstappen could see the other take a major points lead.
“I think it will [go down to the wire], because the swings of points are not massive,” Wolff said.
“Goes one direction and then the other way.
“I’ve said before I think that the DNFs are the killer for this championship because you can’t… It’s very difficult to recover a 25-point loss, so you need to minimise the mistakes.
“It’s exciting to see.”
But while Hamilton trails in the Drivers’ standings, Mercedes are 36 points ahead in the Constructors’.
Wolff denied that it is a comfortable lead for the Brackley squad.
The Mercedes motorsport boss said: “Well, comfortable is the wrong word but I think there is a little bit of a bigger gap, that is solid but that could go very much to the end, and is an important championship for us as Mercedes.”
Hamilton's struggles in Austin
Lewis Hamilton may be in for a tough ride at the US GP this Sunday.