Mercedes boss Toto Wolff will not be happy with weak Valtteri Bottas at Mexico GP

Lewis Hamilton goes undercover to inspire school children

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Former Formula One driver Jolyon Palmer believes Mercedes boss Toto Wolff will not be happy with his driver Valtteri Bottas after the opening few moments of the Mexican Grand Prix. Bottas, who started on pole alongside team-mate Lewis Hamilton, struggled off the line heading down the 811-metre run-down to Turn 1, before being spun around.

Before the spin, Hamilton had managed to pull up alongside the Finn, fighting for the lead before Verstappen swept around both Mercedes drivers and took the lead, with a sensational run-up to Turn 1. 

But Bottas was then sandwiched coming into the right-hander and fell backwards and was then subsequently clipped by McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo and spun round, tumbling to the back of the order.

Speaking on BBC 5 Live Palmer said: “We thought there would be fireworks and you can’t ask for more than that.

“Three-wide going into Turn 1! Absolutely neck-and-neck. Max Verstappen was the braver of the three.

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“I think if you’re Bottas, you’ve got to hang Verstappen out to dry! You cannot let Verstappen drive around your outside at Turn 1.

“It’s weak from Bottas, and as a result, he’s minding his own business after that and he gets clipped by Ricciardo.

“If you’re Toto Wolff, you’re not happy with that.”

Coming into the race, Hamilton’s team-mate set a blistering lap time of 1:15.875 to take pole position, with the seven-time world champion 0.145s behind in second, with Verstappen a further two-tenths down.

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Speaking after the session, Bottas said: “Honestly that first run in Q3 was one of my best laps.”

Hamilton was full of praise for his Mercedes team-mate, adding he was shocked by their pace in Mexico.

Hamilton said: “We did an amazing job. I’m so proud of Valtteri,  I think he’s been driving so well in these last few races. So it’s really great for the team. They’ve been working so hard. We didn’t think we had the pace this weekend.

“So to lock out the front row is pretty special. And obviously gives us a good fight with the others tomorrow.

“We have no idea, they were like six-tenths ahead at one stage and then four-tenths ahead but whatever happens, and once we got qualified all sudden we had better pace.

“I’m just as shocked as everyone, but we’ll still take it.”

Hamilton currently sits 12 points behind Verstappen in the driver standings with just five points remaining.

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