Mercedes boss Toto Wolff has said that Valtteri Bottas has given up on his own title hopes this season in Formula 1, and that he is ready to play the team game to act as a rear-gunner for Lewis Hamilton.
The Finnish driver has had a fair few ups and downs this season, with retirements at the likes of Imola and Monte-Carlo leaving him with a large points deficit to Lewis Hamilton and leader Max Verstappen in the Drivers' title fight.
Indeed, as we come to the midway point in the campaign, there comes a time where the teams right at the front have to make the tough decision to perhaps focus their efforts around one driver if the other is not involved in the battle for the championship, and that seems to be the case at Mercedes, and probably is at Red Bull with Sergio Perez too.
That in mind, it sounds as though Merc have already had the necessary discussions with Bottas over his role for the rest of 2021, and the Finn has accepted that he'll be playing the team game now as the Silver Arrows and Hamilton look to defend their respective crowns from 2020.
Toto Wolff had this to say:
“It is very important because statistically, his odds to win the championship are very small compared to Lewis who is very much in the fight.
"We have discussed that and as tough as it is for a driver, there is no room for margin in this year’s championship."
Bottas is a strong driver and can deliver regular podiums and the odd race win but, once more this season, it's become clear fairly swiftly he's not going to be in the championship fight.
He's not had much luck this year but he's also been off the pace at times, in Baku in particular where he could have profited from Hamilton and Verstappen's pointless returns, and that has led him to this situation, unfortunately for him personally, once again.
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