Mercedes boss Wolff launches Bottas defence
Team principal Toto Wolff insists he is happy with Valtteri Bottas' current form and feels external factors have prevented him from better results in 2021.
The Finn – who is already 151.00 to claim what would be a maiden Drivers' Championship this season - has come under pressure after the opening four races of the new campaign as he finds himself third in the standings with 47 points.
Bottas has scored exactly half the number of points of his team mate Lewis Hamilton, who has had his best ever start to a Formula One season, despite the added speed and competition of Red Bull, particularly that of Max Verstappen.
There have been positives for Bottas – he earned points in the Grand Prixs at Bahrain and Portugal for setting the fastest lap of each race.
However, he has yet to finish above third in any race this season and retired from the Emilia Romagna race at Imola, following a spectacular crash with the Williams of George Russell – a driver who continues to be linked with the Silver Arrows.
Wolff is ignoring the criticism of his driver however and has branded Bottas' speed as "enormous".
"I keep saying he's very strong," said Wolff. "He's in a good place and he keeps scoring.
"[In qualifying here] it was three drivers within a tenth, the weekend before he was on pole. So his speed is enormous. It's just that when things go wrong at the start, or you're in a gaggle with other cars and you lose time to the leaders, that's basically K.O."
Bottas will hope to claim his first win of the season next Sunday when the F1 entourage heads to the glitz and glamour of Monaco.