Toto Wolff and Valtteri Bottas are going through a strenuous relationship right now. After the Bahrain Grand Prix, the Finn claimed the strategy given to him by Mercedes was defensive and that he could have done more given the chance.
Valtteri Bottas believes the team gave him a defensive strategy which is uncharacteristic of the reigning champions. Speaking about his Bahrain Grand Prix, Bottas said:
"Disappointing for sure. Good for the team as we got good points, but from my side strategy-wise we went on the defensive side instead of attacking, which I'm quite surprised by and it's not quite normal."
Valtteri Bottas compromised his chances early in the race: Toto Wolff
Toto Wolff was questioned about alternate strategies that could have been used by Valtteri Bottas in the race. However, the Mercedes team principal was quick to counter this idea. He said:
"I think there wasn't any strategy on the table. Because we tried to undercut also with Valtteri Bottas that I think would change the race for him. I don't know what other strategy we could have run. The one-stop was clearly not possible, the medium wouldn't have made it to the end, the hard in the middle stage was running out of performance. There was no other option available!"
Wolff blamed Valtteri Bottas for losing a position to Charles Leclerc's Ferrari early in the race. He also said the Finn's inability to close the gap in front of him was an additional reason they couldn't try an aggressive approach.
The Austrian said:
"The outcome we didn't wish for was that he lost a position at the start of the race and he kind of couldn't recover the gap to the two guys in front."
However, the Mercedes team principal understood the reason behind Valtteri Bottas' comments to the media. Wolff said the drivers don't have all the information available to them when in the car and while speaking to the media, which makes their frustration understandable.
"I totally understand the frustration in the car when you have limited information and say: 'I think we could have done something else.'"
Valtteri Bottas had yet another average outing at the Bahrain Grand Prix. The Finn never looked like he could match Hamilton and Verstappen's pace. Valtteri's contract runs out at the end of the season, and a public skirmish is not the way for the Finn to guarantee his seat. Mercedes have the most coveted seat in Formula 1 today. It is a privilege to drive for the reigning world champions, and if Bottas is not happy with their strategic decisions, the Finn is free to reject an extension on his contract..