Felipe Massa has instructed former teammate Valtteri Bottas to continue finishing top of the podium if he is to avoid playing second fiddle to Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes.
Massa is of the belief that Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel is the clear title rival for Mercedes, with the latter potentially favouring Hamilton over Bottas, as their best hope of fending off the challenge of Vettel - despite Bottas claiming a maiden victory in Russia.
“For sure I was happy that he won the race, and I came to say congratulations to him,” Massa is quoted as saying by motorsport.com.
“To be honest, he did a very good race. Everybody knows he has a very good competition from his teammate, and his teammate is top level as well. I don’t see that it’s impossible for Valtteri to fight with him – I think it’s possible. We know it’s not easy.
“To be able to fight with Lewis, now is the right time. If he’s after the championship, now he improves… If you see Kimi, he will work for Sebastian for the whole championship, it’s clear.
"If you have another team that is fighting for the championship and you have a driver that is more than 20 points behind, he will need to do the same. So now is the time.
“If he wants to fight with Lewis he needs to win another race here, he needs to score more points than Lewis now – then the team cannot do anything.”
Bottas: Russia was my best weekend
Bottas has also had his say on why he finished ahead of Hamilton in Russia:
“For sure I’ve always felt comfortable in Sochi, but it’s not down just to that. I felt Russia was my best weekend so far this year in terms of my own performance, no matter about the track.
“I’ve looked into every single thing from Russia - what I can do better and what I did good and so on, and I do understand all of the points why there was a difference and so on, and I’ll try to keep good momentum out of that.”