Defeat will "annoy the hell out of" Valtteri Bottas - Toto Wolff

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff believes falling behind in the 2019 Formula 1 world championship battle will "annoy the hell out of" Valtteri Bottas and prompt a fightback

Defeat will "annoy the hell out of" Valtteri Bottas - Toto Wolff

Bottas led the standings after beating team-mate Lewis Hamilton in Azerbaijan at the end of last month.

But defeat in Spain and then only finishing fourth in Monaco mean he has slipped 17 points behind Hamilton, and the momentum of his championship campaign has begun to slow - the scenario in which his form dropped away last year.

Wolff is convinced that Bottas is a different person in 2019.

Asked by Autosport how Bottas would deal with the Monaco disappointment, Wolff replied: "Valtteri 2019 is going to get out of it stronger.

"He has shown huge resilience and determination in these last races.

"The speed was mind-boggling [in qualifying in Monaco] and I have no doubt about this, that it's going to annoy the hell out of him, and he's going to come back very, very strong in Montreal."

Bottas had looked strong throughout Monaco practice, but lost out in the fight for pole position when dealing with traffic on his out-lap in Q3 meant his tyres were not in the best shape for his flying lap.

His hopes of challenging Hamilton for the win in the race were then dashed when he clashed with Max Verstappen in the pits and suffered a puncture.

Bottas was relieved he did not fall further down the order than fourth in that incident.

"Honestly, I thought when I got the puncture and had to stop again, that I was going to be at the back of the grid but luckily I only lost a couple of places," he said.

"So, unlucky but lucky at the same time. It could have been a lot worse.

"It's still important points, obviously disappointing going backwards from where you start from - but sometimes it goes like this."

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