Mercedes boss Toto Wolff called Valtteri Bottas a "sensational wingman" to Hungarian Grand Prix-winning team mate Lewis Hamilton on Sunday, a description that stung the unsmiling Finnish Formula One driver.
There is still plenty of work to do if he is to break that streak, even if Hamilton is well ahead of where he was this time a year ago when he went into the August shutdown 14 points adrift of Vettel.
With Bottas on his worst winless run since joining Mercedes, relationships at the Silver Arrows will need to be managed closely.
"Can I not just keep going", Verstappen said on the radio.
"I'm not really certain what to expect".
"For him [Bottas] there wasn't anywhere to go, I was ahead". Wolff, speaking after the race, said: "The result feels bittersweet".
Bottas, and his wounded Mercedes, would drop to fifth as he collided with Daniel Ricciardo, in the latter stages, too, but for his team-mate Hamilton there would be no such dramas as he sealed his fifth win of the season.
"You see the teamwork me and Valtteri had, it worked pretty well", he said, pointing to the start and opening lap when they fended off a concerted Ferrari attack.
It was a welcome return to form for Ricciardo, who had failed to finish in two of the previous three grand prix.
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"A lot can happen moving forward, but what is important is that we continue to keep the pressure on and work as we have done until now".
Lap 31 - Vettel's lead over Hamilton is now more than 15 seconds, however the Ferrari driver still hasn't pitted.
"We thought in theory we should have been able to do that one stop".
Bottas did not take kindly to being branded "the flawless wingman" by Mercedes chief Toto Wolff after the Hungarian Grand Prix.
"At a track where overtaking in the race is always hard, we managed to finish higher up the order than we started, thanks to the efforts of the entire team and a great performance from both drivers", said Arrivabene.
"We came here knowing that the Ferrari would be really quick this weekend", said Hamilton.
Twenty laps before the end, it was clear that if there were no accident or technical defeat, only Vettel's third place could be realistic, or overtaking Bottas, since Hamilton's advantage grew steadily. He took a grid penalty for impeding Carlos Sainz in qualifying at the Red Bull Ring. "Lucky that the vehicle wasn't broken and we could carry on". Honestly I'm really happy because we knew that with Toro Rosso, two, three times in the year you have big opportunities like this where the vehicle works better than expected, things come your way. "I don't mean it in championship terms".
"We could control the pace, but then the rear tyres started to go and I tried to defend as best I could and, in the end, I just ended up being a mess with a broken auto".