Valtteri Bottas backed by Mercedes to recover from Chinese GP spin
"He certainly has the character to recover from such a situation," says Toto Wolff after Bottas "threw away" strong China result
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 10/04/17 10:36am
Valtteri Bottas faces a "big challenge" to beat an on-form Lewis Hamilton, but has been backed by Mercedes to bounce back from his error in the Chinese GP.
Bottas's Mercedes career suffered its first setback in Shanghai when he dropped down the order after spinning behind the Safety Car while warming up his tyres.
Finishing only sixth in a race that Hamilton won convincingly, a disappointed Bottas said over team radio at the end of the race he was "so sorry for the amateur mistake" and would make up for it in the forthcoming races.
Sky Sports F1's Paul Di Resta sympathised with Bottas but admitted the Finn had his work cut out to try and get on terms with Hamilton.
"Lewis is at the top of his game and is more going to be looking at the championship," said the former Force India driver.
"Bottas was unfortunate. He spun, you've got 800 horsepower and cold tyres, and as he tried to correct it, it then spun again on the grass and it was double punishment because the Safety Car was released straight away.
"But he has got a big challenge just to try and get near Lewis and then beat him."
Up until race day in China, Bottas had a made a solid start to his career at F1's world champions following his winter switch from Williams to replace Nico Rosberg. The Finn finished on the podium in Melbourne and qualified third at both the opening two rounds, just two tenths behind Hamilton on both occasions.
Team boss Toto Wolff acknowledged Bottas "threw it away" with his spin but added: "It's happened to the best [in the past]. It was very slippery out there and he lost it and this is where the race was gone.
"He just needs to recover from that now. It's just the second race in the season, he has 18 more left. Analyse it and forget it."
Bottas, who had already lost time at his first pit stop, was running in fifth behind the early Safety Car before the spin onto the grass dropped him to 12th.
Asked by Sky F1 if Bottas's strength of character would now through, Wolff replied: "Yes, and you could see that during the race.
"He had the pace, he was doing Lewis's lap time at various stages in the race, but once you lose so many positions you are not in the leading pack anymore you have to recover mentally and that is very difficult.
"He certainly has the character to recover from such a situation."
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