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David Coulthard believes Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez will have little influence on the outcome of the championship battle now, despite both playing a key role alongside their team-mates.
Both Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton have been evenly matched this season in an enthralling championship battle which has ebbed and flowed throughout the entire year.
Hamilton currently leads the way, but by just two points, with the next few rounds crucial for both drivers in the title battle.
But Coulthard believes both Perez and Bottas’ performances this campaign shows they will play little part in the final outcome, and says they need to step up before the season is done.
“Bottas and Perez would have to go faster than before,” Coulthard told Speedweek.
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“Valtteri surprised me. Sochi is normally a track where he is fast. But there was little to see from him.
“I don’t think the two teammates will influence the outcome.”
It comes after team boss Toto Wolff was heard on the radio urging the Finn on in Sochi.
Bottas was dropped down to 17th on the grid for Sunday’s race after Mercedes decided to change elements in the Finn’s power unit.
There was some hope that Bottas would hold up Verstappen in the early stages to prevent Hamilton’s title rival from making up some valuable points.
“It’s a big opportunity in the championship,” Wolff said ahead of the race.
“It’s still a big opportunity for us to get a lot more points than Red Bull.
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“And I really believe we can still fight for the win, because based on the pace we had yesterday in the long runs, if it’s a dry race especially, we’ll be there or thereabouts.
In a rare message to his driver, Wolff was heard saying: ”Valtteri get those cars in front of you for points.”
However, Bottas seemed to put up little fight against Verstappen, and the 24-year-old swept past the Mercedes, eventually finishing second behind Hamilton.
It means there are just two points separating the pair, with a championship at stake.
However, Coulthard believes any mind games played by Verstappen won’t have an effect on the seven-time world champion.
“You don’t have to be surprised that these two drivers, of all people, are fighting for the title. And I’m firmly convinced – that will continue until the end of the season in Abu Dhabi,” he added.
“I don’t think Verstappen can get into Lewis’ head. They both have such strong teams behind them, they know they can win races at any time.
“That creates an incredible amount of confidence.”
“I felt a lot of pressure then, but these guys don’t,” added the Scot, speaking about his own career in Formula One.
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