Despite Valtteri Bottas signing a contract extension with the Mercedes F1 Team for the 2021 season last year, some F1 fans believe that the Silver Arrows should drop the Finn and give George Russell a shot.
These calls intensified after Russell almost matched Bottas in qualifying for the Sakhir Grand Prix and looked set to win the race before Mercedes came unstuck.
However, in a recent interview, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has defended Valtteri Bottas and insisted that he is “performing at a very high level” despite him losing out on the 2020 Championship to Lewis Hamilton by a large haul of points.
“What we need to look at and what we need to work out together is the fact that the drivers are all about winning the World Championship,” Wolff told the Dutch edition of Motorsport.com.
“The margin between winning and losing is so small in this sport. If he had won in Sakhir, nobody would have criticised Valtteri.
“And that had everything to do with a good or less good start. He was overtaking for that unfortunate pit stop incident as well,” the Austrian added.
Continuing, Wolff said Bottas had “many more lows than he deserved” in 2020, stressing that he could have won several more grand prix if luck had been on his side.
“Valtteri has had highs, but above all many more lows than he deserved. Those lows were not due to his own performance, but simply a result of bad luck.
“How many times did he lead a race that he probably would have won, but then suddenly there was another red flag? Or before he had a puncture? Several times. I think he could have had a handful more wins.
“And the Championship could have stayed open much, much longer. He is performing at a very high level. There’s no reason to doubt him,” Wolff concluded.