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Valtteri Bottas ‘lost the joy of F1’ after two years of racing alongside Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes

Valtteri Bottas ‘lost the joy of F1’ after two years racing alongside Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes as he ‘struggled to play the supporting role’

  • Valtteri Bottas drove four seasons for Mercedes between 2017 and 2021
  • Lewis Hamilton won three of the possible four World Championships with him
  • The 32-year-old driver has revealed how he ‘almost got mad at F1’ in 2018
  • He is now eighth in the drivers’ championship with his new team Alfa Romeo

Valtteri Bottas has revealed how struggling to compete with Lewis Hamilton and playing a supporting role during his time at Mercedes nearly drove him out of F1.

Now of Alfa Romeo, Bottas spent four seasons at Mercedes from 2017-2021 following the retirement of Nico Rosberg.

The Finnish driver was often asked to play a support role for his teammate Lewis Hamilton, who won the World Drivers’ Championship in three of the four seasons they raced together, and struggled to match the seven-time world champion’s results.

Valtteri Bottas joined Mercedes after Nico Rosberg's retirement and stayed for four seasons

Valtteri Bottas joined Mercedes after Nico Rosberg’s retirement and stayed for four seasons

Speaking with the Motor Sport Magazine Podcastsaid Bottas: ‘I almost stood still at the end of 2018, it was so close.’

“I couldn’t understand and accept that I couldn’t beat Lewis in those two years. You lose the joy in things and I just lost the joy of F1 and racing in F1. I was almost mad at F1.

“I put so much pressure on myself. By the end of 2018, especially when I started to get the support role in the team. The human mind is strange in a way that sometimes you go to dark places.’

The 32-year-old got 'almost mad at F1' as he struggled to compete with Lewis Hamilton

The 32-year-old got ‘almost mad at F1’ as he struggled to compete with Lewis Hamilton

It took some time out of the sport to regain Bottas’ love for F1, as he explained: “I decided to go on holiday somewhere in South America and just try not to think about F1 at all.

“It’s weird, but I just needed some time off, and I thought about the big picture and then I realized, ‘Okay, it’s actually quite a cool sport and I still have some great opportunities ahead of me.’ So I’d be stupid not to take them

‘Immediately the results were much better. 2019 was probably my best season yet, especially against Lewis.

Hamilton won the World Championship in three of the four years Bottas spent as a teammate

Hamilton won the World Championship in three of the four years Bottas spent as a teammate

“I’ve won quite a few races, and especially until the middle of the season I sometimes even led the championship, so it’s been a pretty, pretty strong year, but then just Lewis’ consistency and performance, for the whole season, I couldn’t match.’

Bottas left Mercedes for Alfa Romeo at the end of the 2021 season when George Russell took his place at Mercedes.

The 32-year-old is currently eighth in the Drivers’ Championship with a best result of fifth place at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

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