Valtteri Bottas says he will always do what's best for Mercedes if asked to move over for Lewis Hamilton in the remaining races of 2017.
Bottas is currently 41 points behind Hamilton, who moved ahead of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel by winning the Italian Grand Prix. With 25 points awarded for a win and seven races left, Bottas' chances of a championship are looking increasingly slim.
Though most in the paddock believe Ferrari is following its traditional approach of favouring one driver, Mercedes has resisted throwing all its weight behind Hamilton while Bottas has been in range of the leaders. That dilemma has caused headaches for the team this year, with team boss Toto Wolff clearly conflicted by the decision to reverse a team order at the Hungarian Grand Prix which had initially seen Bottas let Hamilton through to attack the Ferraris.
Bottas is happy to help the team in necessary situations but is certain his own pace will determine what sort of role he has in the remaining seven races.
"It is up to me also, really - if I perform well, if I manage to qualify well, have strong pace, for sure I can still fight for the wins," Bottas said. "But if it is going to be the case that for some reason I'm missing pace, if Lewis is doing a better job, me running in P2, and clearly behind then it's obviously better to help than try something silly."
"I'm always going to be a team player and it is up to the team to decide these kind of things, so we'll see. We'll go race by race and by every situation, but like I said it is also a lot up to me. I need to perform if I still want to fight for the title."
Hamilton's prowess in qualifying this year has seen him take eight of the 13 available pole positions -- the most of recent of which saw him move past Michael Schumacher's all-time career tally of 68 at Monza. Bottas thinks his form on Saturday needs to improve if he wants to have more victory opportunities.
"I think starting fourth, ending up second and for us as a team ending with a one-two is a really good day," he said of his Italian Grand Prix recovery. "For me, the race win I think I lost in the qualifying. The [race] pace between me and Lewis, not much difference. In similar cars, similar pace, whoever is ahead in the beginning of the race without any drama, that's going to be the finishing order.
"I just need to try and improve my qualifying, try to be stronger in the qualifying in Singapore so hopefully that way I can fight for the win. Pretty much the gap we had with Lewis when I got through the cars ahead, it stayed more or less the same towards the end of the race."