BUDAPEST, Hungary -- Toto Wolff feels his comments about Valtteri Bottas being a "sensational wingman" to Lewis Hamilton were taken out of context.
Bottas was initially upset to hear his boss had used the phrase to describe his performance at the Hungarian Grand Prix, which saw him fall from second to fifth in the closing stages after separate clashes with Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo while managing heavily-worn tyres. Bottas' longer second stint had hampered his own race prospects but prevented Vettel from attacking Hamilton with a significant tyre advantage, which provd to be decisive in the outcome of the race.
Wolff felt Bottas' efforts deserved an appearance on the podium.
When asked about the "wingman" comment, Wolff said: "That's exactly why things that are not being discussed directly face to face are being completely spun out of control in a wrong way.
"In today's race, starting P2 after lap one, Valtteri's race was the perfect wingman's race. I don't mean it in championship terms, we have no number one and number two, but it was just how he was racing, was from my standpoint the best race so far with Valtteri at Mercedes in the last three years.
"The bittersweet feeling I have is he would have deserved to have finished P2. It was where he started and where was after lap one but as you say, maybe the word wingman doesn't do him justice. He drove a sensational race and helped Lewis in a way to build a lead. But Lewis on the other side drove a faultless spectacular race as well."
The result meant Hamilton strengthened his grip on the lead of the championship, with his advantage over Vettel now at 24 points. Kimi Raikkonen is a further 43 points behind, while Bottas trails his fellow Finn by 14 -- he is 81 points adrift of Hamilton.