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Bottas threw Chinese podium away – Wolff

Valtteri Bottas threw away his chance of a podium at the Chinese Grand Prix with a needless error behind the safety car, according to Mercedes chief Toto Wolff.

Bottas qualified third and held onto that position in the wet early stages in Shanghai, but was sixth before losing control of his car while trying to warm up a new set of slick tyres.

The Finn slipped to 12th as a result and was only able to make his way back up to sixth, with team-mate Lewis Hamilton joined by Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen on the podium.

Wolff called on Bottas to move on quickly, insisting it was a mistake anyone could have made.

“He threw it away behind the safety car,” Wolff told Sky Sports. “It happens to the best, it was very slippery out there and he lost it and that’s when the race was gone.

“He just needs to recover from that now. Analyse it and forget it. It’s the second race into the season, there are 18 more left.

“You could see during the race that he had the pace. He was doing Lewis’ lap times at various stages in the race, but once you’re losing so many positions and you’re not in the leading pack anymore, and you have to recover mentally, that is very difficult.

“He certainly has the character to recover from such a situation.”

Bottas was apologetic about his error, saying: “Behind the safety car I was trying to generate as much tyre temperature as I could, but I went too far and spun – and after that it was tricky to get the tyres back to working temperature.

“It was a mistake of mine; I lost too many points.”

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