Mercedes has said that there is no plan to change their driver policy despite Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel leading the Driver’s Championship.

When Valtteri Bottas won in Sochi, he closed the gap with Hamilton to just 10 points but he has now fallen 35 behind and is 41 behind the leader Vettel after he was forced to retire from the Spanish GP.

Bottas was struggling for pace after sustaining damage in a first-corner contact with Kimi Raikkonen but he was playing the team game on track to help Hamilton for the second time in three races, holding up Vettel for two laps and then allowing Hamilton through to chase the Ferrari.

However, despite the large point difference between them, team chief Toto Wolff says that it is too early to discount Bottas.

Speaking to Sky Sports F1 Wolff said, “At the moment he [Hamilton] is quite a large chunk ahead in terms of the Drivers’ Championship, but we are in race number five and there are 14 to go. As a team we have never made that call and we have never made it that early, so we are going to continue to work like we do.”

At Ferrari the story is entirely different with Raikkonen a full 65 points behind Vettel and yet to outrace or out-qualify him. As a result, it seems he may already have been given a support role.

Ahead of the Spanish GP Felipe Massa, Raikkonen’s ex-Ferrari teammate, said, “If you have a driver in the front, especially Sebastian, Kimi will work the whole year for Sebastian, 100 per cent sure.”

In the past Mercedes have been very clear that they do not want a policy like that on their team and want their drivers to race freely.