First of all Wingman Hurts - Valtteri Bottas

Lewis Hamilton was frustrated with Sky F1's commentary team last week

He dropped a place at the start to teammate Sebastian Vettel but said beating race victor Lewis Hamilton was always going to be tough after Mercedes outqualified Ferrari on Saturday.

Mercedes missed out on a 1-2 as Bottas was overtaken by Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen with five laps to go.

Bottas was told on team radio to give the position back to Ricciardo, and was later given a 10-second time penalty but this did not affect results.

The Australian put on a spectacularly passing move, pulling wide and cutting past Bottas on the inside as he sped off to claim fourth spot - but not before he showed the Finn some true-blue gratitude with a glorious middle finger salute. In Baku he lost places, too aggressive on the restart, in France he clipped Valtteri Bottas in turn one and then went off into the barriers in the wet in Germany.

"First of all, "wingman" hurts".

"In the end it doesn't change much, just that it was a bit more work than coming out ahead". "I don't think it's a disaster but it could be better, for sure".

The Englishman ruled from start-to-finish with a commanding performance to finish ahead of Sebastian Vettel, extending his lead to 24 points.

Both Bottas and Wolff have insisted he is free to compete on equal terms. But he clearly seemed irked at being described as a wingman and said he would seek clarification.

"That's exactly why things that are not being discussed directly face-to-face are being completely spun out of control in the wrong way", said the Austrian.

I was at an event where a few select customers of Mercedes-Benz were able to spend time with him, as well as with Toto Wolff, the team's executive director, and Lewis's team-mate, Valtteri Bottas.

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"But with the gap that he had, I think it would have been hard to catch - and then it's a completely different story, especially around here to overtake".

"The bittersweet feeling I have is he would have deserved to have finished P2". But maybe the word wingman doesn't do him justice.

'He drove a sensational race and helped Lewis build his lead'.

With Bottas on his worst winless run since joining Mercedes, relationships at the Silver Arrows will need to be managed closely.

"I have not called a meeting with the bosses for Toto saying I was the ideal wingman in this race", read the statement. "There is no need to".

So, when asked if 2018 will finally be his year to add a fifth title to his tally and his first wearing red, the German answered: "I don't know".

"We had a pretty good vehicle and I was able to make it to fourth".

'He started second and he was second after the opening lap, and, from my standpoint, it was Valtteri's best race at Mercedes in the last two years.

Mercedes star Hamilton is on 213 points with Vettel on 189 and his Ferrari teammate Raikkonen on 146.

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