Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff believes Valtteri Bottas' performance at the Japanese Grand Prix was impacted by the events of Sochi a week earlier.
The Finn never really challenged Lewis Hamilton at any point during the Suzuka weekend and would finish almost 13 seconds behind in the race, later admitting it was his "job" to follow his teammate.
Even so, his Austrian boss does think the mental effect of giving up victory because of team orders in Russia was apparent in Japan.
“We have to remind ourselves that for a race driver who is channelling all his efforts into winning races and the championship, if you take that ability away from him, it will automatically cause a little bit of a mental setback,” he told Autosport.
“He says he hasn’t got that. but I believe that will play a little part of it."
At the same time, however, Wolff maintains that Bottas fully understands why the decision was taken back in Sochi.
"After Sochi in the evening we had a discussion, he said, ‘I completely understand why you did it and where the team’s coming from. If I were in your shoes, I would do exactly the same’," he claimed.
“‘I need to outperform Lewis in the beginning of the season, and score more victories, and put myself in a position to fight for the championship. So, don’t worry about me’."
The Austrian does think Bottas remains in good form though and tipped him to finally end his win drought dating back to Abu Dhabi last year.
“I think Valtteri will get one victory [this year] and don’t you worry, I think Valtteri will get many more victories in his life,” he added.
“He will go into his third season with Mercedes next year and will make another step.
“He will have learned and improved and see himself as a strong challenger for the championship and it’s exactly what we want. So that will come.”
Red Bull reveal why 2007 Fernando Alonso
Could Finland finally host an F1 Grand P
Michael Schumacher 'would be extremely p
Daniel Ricciardo claims Honda fears larg
Robert Kubica claims he is more like a '
UK motorsport chief & F1 teams consider
Mick Schumacher finally confirms joining
Opinion: Charles Leclerc can learn from
Honda identify an ability Mercedes & Fer
Sebastian Vettel could be next 'shock' F
Valtteri Bottas 'fully recharged' ahead
Daniel Ricciardo: Everyone in F1 knows N
Sergio Perez: Esteban Ocon's year as Mer
Max Verstappen heads into 2019 'ready to
Red Bull reveal why Sebastien Buemi was
McLaren post partial glimpse of 2019 car
Toro Rosso willing to sacrifice 2019 sea
Ferrari target shakedown of 2019 F1 car
Renault now ready to 'attack' in quest f
Felipe Massa offers insight into his F1
Robert Kubica: Fernando Alonso's divisiv
Pierre Gasly has a message for Red Bull
Mercedes ties prevented Esteban Ocon fro
Lando Norris brushes off pressure of avo
Ferrari chairman rejects Maurizio Arriva
Early 2019 aero development saw 'big hit
Adrian Newey reinvigorated by Red Bull's
Niki Lauda released from hospital after
Mick Schumacher likely to test 2019 Ferr
Lewis Hamilton will finish his F1 career
Mercedes' Toto Wolff hints at Red Bull t
Daniel Ricciardo joining Renault a year
McLaren & Williams failing because of th
Sergio Perez reveals why he snubbed oppo
Stefano Domenicali linked with Ferrari r
Mercedes boss recalls 'amazing' first me
Max Verstappen now faster than Daniel Ri
Pirelli unfazed by 2021 F1 uncertainty b
McLaren taking measures to improve relia
Esteban Ocon issue simple 2020 F1 ultima
Toro Rosso's 2019 car the first to pass
Max Verstappen enjoys 'constructive' day
McLaren sure Fernando Alonso exit won't
Sergio Perez: Racing Point the best team
Haas still has to 'earn the respect' of
Carlos Sainz already looking for long-te
Formula 1 star Pierre Gasly to partner L
Vietnam's F1 circuit developed using fir
Hockenheim & Monza proved 'things weren'
Honda defiant over claims of setbacks wi
Daniel Ricciardo will boost Renault but
Mick Schumacher knows rushing to F1 woul
Nico Rosberg names one quality Hamilton
McLaren appoint ex-Porsche WEC chief And
Williams: Robert Kubica a 'proper driver
Canadian GP promoter excited by Stroll/P
Ross Brawn: McLaren & Williams 'great te
Michael Schumacher pushed Mercedes to go
Esteban Ocon tips Racing Point to close
Mattia Binotto must deliver championship
Toro Rosso's Franz Tost has simple cure
UPDATED: Pneumonia not the cause for Nik
Sauber set their target after 'pushing l
Romain Grosjean: Haas 'scaring' Renault
Charles Leclerc a future star but 2019 n
Is the opposition to Hamilton/Schumacher
Sebastian Vettel plays down loss of deve
Charles Leclerc responds to Hamilton nam
Honda bringing Red Bull 'in the region'
Renault obliged to prevent Daniel Riccia
Ferrari confirm Maurizio Arrivabene's de
Valtteri Bottas sees positive outlook fo
Haas wary of 2019 F1 regulations but Wil
Ross Brawn admits growing 'impatience' a
Mercedes hoping potential to match Ferra
Sauber considering shakedown of 2019 car
McLaren sure Liberty will address rise o
Arrivabene out, Binotto promoted to team
Niki Lauda back in hospital after contra
Honda facing two significant problems ah
Williams chief Lowe reveals Ross Brawn's
Mercedes tells Valtteri Bottas what is r
Honda sees great benefit from increased
Lawrence Stroll reveals main reason for
Robert Kubica admits saying no to Ferrar
Nico Hulkenberg: The key area Ricciardo
Kimi Raikkonen not making Sauber predict
Lewis Hamilton never asked for Sochi tea
George Russell: The McLaren decision tha
Jean-Eric Vergne offers his prediction o
McLaren call on Liberty to ignore opposi
Daniel Ricciardo: Verstappen set for 'gr
Michael Schumacher a 'founding father' o
McLaren won't jump to early conclusions
Robert Kubica puts expectations in check
Michael Schumacher's ex-manager explains
Barrichello: The trait Charles Leclerc m
Vasseur: A 'spiral' of events attracted
Michael Schumacher's family reassure fan
Wolff: How 2016 tension led to current H