Bottas' future won't be decided by one race, says Mercedes chief

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff insists one difficult outing will not determine the future of Valtteri Bottas, who was less than impressed with an opening-lap move from Charles Leclerc that impacted the start of his Hungarian Grand Prix.

Bottas is in his third season with the Silver Arrows and speculation continues to link Mercedes with a move for Red Bull star Max Verstappen, who finished second behind Lewis Hamilton at the Hungaroring.

There was much hope for Bottas in Hungary after he qualified second, but the Finn made contact with Hamilton and Leclerc, forcing him to pit and fall down the order.

Despite recovering to finish eighth, Wolff acknowledged Bottas knew his chances were over but says the result will have no impact on their decision-making process for the team's 2020 line-up.

"I'm really disappointed for him, because he was all pumped. Yesterday's qualifying performance was great – he could have easily been on pole," Wolff said in Budapest.

"He wanted to do particularly well then it went all wrong. Touching with Lewis and touching with Leclerc, I think there is nothing more to expect from anybody because you know, you've just blown it."

On Bottas' future, Wolff added: "I don't think we want to make it dependent from one bad day.

"We need to look at all of the data, consider lots of factors which speak for him and speak against him.

"I don't want a discussion about if he's staying or not, it's not right. He has had some great inputs with the team and we want to discuss it behind closed doors.

"What's the merit of having a young one in the team? With all the risk and reward. What's the merit of having Valtteri in the team? With all the risk and reward."

Bottas felt Leclerc made a move on him that was "completely unnecessary".

"At the time when it happened I thought I was just focused on something else, and maybe didn't see him, but it happened pretty quick," he said.

"But then when I saw the onboard, and when I saw Vettel's onboard, it was clear that I was just going straight ahead, he was on the right, and he would have been ahead of me anyway before Turn 4 going straight.

"But then suddenly he swept across and for me it was too late to react. I love hard racing, that's for sure, but that was completely unnecessary, and for sure compromised my race.

"He was lucky enough not to get a puncture. That's not how it should be." 

For his part, Leclerc said: "I don't really know to be honest.

"I felt a small touch but I don't really know what happened. I have no idea, I haven't seen it."

Follow the Action