Toto Wolff Makes a Heartfelt Confession to Valtteri Bottas: “The One That I Robbed”

Published 12/19/2021, 1:42 PM EST
Formula One F1 – Brazilian Grand Prix – Jose Carlos Pace Circuit, Sao Paulo, Brazil – November 13, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas after finishing first place in sprint qualifying with Principal and CEO Toto Wolff REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli


Toto Wolff and Valtteri Bottas sat down for one last time and looked back at the five glorious years they spent together as a team. In a heartening throwback, Bottas and Wolff filled in the blanks on his farewell helmet. During this trip down memory lane, there were a lot of jokes made, but the team boss made a heartfelt statement to his driver.

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When the duo counted back on Bottas’ wins with the team, the correct tally was 10. However, Wolff, in all seriousness, said, “Ten, plus Sochi, eleven.” Referring to the time when Wolff gave Bottas’ lead to Hamilton, the Finn took the digit from the boss but innocently looked back at the times where a DNF cost him winning a race.

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That’s where Wolff stopped him. “This one was really robbed… the one that I robbed…” Therefore, Wolff urged Bottas, “put ten plus one.”

Almost apologetic, Wolff’s smile showed his driver what it had meant to him. Thus, it’s 10+1 wins for Bottas with Mercedes.

Looking back at Valtteri Bottas’ Sochi sacrifice

The infamous “Valtteri, it’s James” took a heartbreaking turn in Sochi, back in 2018. Valtteri Bottas was the pole sitter at the race start; soon it was lap 26, and Bottas was sandwiched with Verstappen ahead of him and Hamilton behind.

Notoriously, team orders came into play during a race in which Bottas had the win within grasp. Bottas had to let his teammate through, resulting in a Mercedes 1-2 finish. The win helped Hamilton get ahead of his then title rival, Sebastian Vettel, by 50 points.

Recently, Bottas admitted to wanting to leave the sport after that fateful race. “Honestly, I was thinking ‘why do I do this?’ I was thinking of quitting [F1], of giving up. Straight after the race, I said I wouldn’t do it again.”

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The Finn then admitted to feeling like the number two. “If your team-mate wins and you are second, you feel like you lose. I know I’ve been second in the past but I want to prove I’m not just a number two…In the team, even though many wouldn’t admit it, maybe unconsciously they have a number one and a number two.”

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Now, clearly, the relationship is better between the team principal and his driver, who drops his black Brackley outfit for the white and red of Alfa Romeo.

Watch this story: Insane Michael Schumacher Records That Lewis Hamilton Hasn’t Broken Yet

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Shreya Sanjeev

779 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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