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Bottas and Wolff reconcile ‘wingman’ spat

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Valtteri Bottas on his way to fifth in Hungary © AFP / FERENC ISZA

BUDAPEST, Hungary, Jul 30Valtteri Bottas and his Mercedes team chief Toto Wolff have reconciled the misunderstanding of their comments about his work as a “sensational wingman” following Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Finn tweeted that he had not called for a meeting with the team and fully understood Wolff’s remarks while the team boss said the selfless Bottas had delivered his best race for the team.

“Some out of context news around …” he tweeted. “I have not called a meeting with the bosses for Toto saying I was the perfect wingman in this race. There is no need to.

“I was disappointed with my end result in the race and saw everything in a negative way for a moment. I know what he meant. And he would have said the same about Lewis if he’d be in same situation and had a similar race.

“We are on equal terms and I trust the team 100% on that. All good. We’ll keep pushing! It’ll come.”

Wolff had earlier clarified his post-race comments, which Bottas reacted to immediately, saying he felt hurt to be described as a wingman in the aftermath of championship leader Briton Lewis Hamilton’s record sixth victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Referring to reports of Bottas’s reaction, Wolff said: “That’s exactly why things that are not being discussed directly face-to-face are being completely spun out of control in the wrong way.

“In today’s race, starting P2, after lap one, Valtteri’s race was the perfect wingman race – and I don’t mean it in championship terms, because we have no number one, we have no number two, but it was just how he was racing.

“It was, from my standpoint, (his) best race so far with Mercedes in the last (two) years.”

Wolff said Mercedes were surprised Bottas had resisted the Ferraris, led by Sebastian Vettel who eventually finished second, and protected Hamilton, for so long in the race on his way to finishing fifth.

“I don’t know how much length the tyre was on, but I guess it was around 50 – 54 [laps] – the tyre was completely shot,” Wolff added.

“The bittersweet feeling I have is that he would have deserved to finish P2 – where he has started and where he was after lap one.

“But, are you saying maybe the word wingman doesn’t do him justice? He just drove a sensational race and helped Lewis, in a way, to build the lead.”

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