Ross Brawn, Formula 1's managing director, has claimed that the Mercedes F1 team will do all it can to help Valtteri Bottas succeed this season.
The former Ferrari team principal made the comments after another disappointing weekend for Bottas, who dropped from first to third during Sunday's race - being overtaken by both Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.
Nevertheless, Brawn believes there is a real desire within Mercedes to help their 31-year-old driver, in spite of persistent rumours over his future at Brackley.
"There’s a fascinating dynamic within Mercedes right now, in terms of their wish to support Valtteri as much as they can," Brawn wrote in his Formula1.com column.
"He had a reasonable race but will be disappointed not to have converted pole into victory.
"It is pretty unusual for a Team Principal to come on the radio and speak to a driver – but I think it shows their desire to do what they can to back him in what is a really challenging period for the Finn."
By contrast, Brawn has claimed that the challenge of Red Bull has made Lewis Hamilton - Bottas' teammate - rise to the occasion, as he did once again at Portimao.
Hamilton was superb, completing expert maneuvers on both Bottas and Red Bull's Max Verstappen to seal his 97th F1 career win.
"Lewis may have faced major opposition from his teammate over the last few years, but he’s not had to contend with a threat from outside – and so far, he is responding like a seven-time world champion would," Brawn concluded.