After five years with Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas has great feelings about his time with the team.
Bottas won 10 Grands Prix, scored 20 pole positions and helped Mercedes win five consecutive constructors’ titles.
The problem for Bottas was that he was a teammate of Lewis Hamilton and was unable to fulfill his dream of winning the drivers’ championship.
“Yeah, I definitely feel like it’s kind of a failure,” Bottas said in an interview. “But looking back, I tried to do everything I could.
“If I could go back in time, if I could relive those moments, I would still do my best, as I did.”
Keeping a positive attitude, Bottas joins Alfa Romeo team next session, said, “It’s going to be important, thinking about the constructors’ title we won together, a huge amount of points.
“We’ve been very good teammates, I got a few wins, a lot of poles, so I need to take those good things with me, so when I look back I think yes, I did some Have achieved, probably not a big chunk yet. About gold I told myself that I will win when I am 6 years old, but still something.
Hamilton said Bottas is “the best partner I’ve ever had in this game.”
When Bottas’ departure was confirmed in a social media post from Hamilton, Hamilton said: “Your speed and flexibility have been impressive, but the person where you really stand out for me is you. You’re so much more than you know.” , and I know you have a bright future ahead of you.
During his five seasons with Hamilton, Bottas said he was treated fairly by Mercedes “on the whole”.
“Especially always up to the halfway point at the start of a season, of course,” Bottas said. “If there was a one point difference, then naturally people inside the team would start thinking that it is likely to be the driver who is going to fight for the championship, not this one.
“Subconsciously, it can change some people’s behavior and their decision-making.”
On occasions, there were “very clear cases” when he had to play Hamilton’s supporting role which affected him mentally. For example, at the 2018 Russian Grand Prix, Bottas was leading the race when he was asked to take the win to Hamilton. He was again asked to replace Hamilton at the Spanish Grand Prix this year.
“I would say the first time that happened was probably in 2018, and it was really hard to accept,” Bottas said. “It was quite difficult.
“It was not good for me to be in the place I was in mentally. As time goes by, do you accept it if you are in a position that is lagging behind in numbers? Makes it difficult.”
Bottas, who hails from Finland, said he has learned a lot about himself with Mercedes. He said that he believes he joins Alfa Romeo as a stronger man.
“I learned how this game is really so much more mental,” Bottas said. “If you really compare, if it’s a physical or mental sport, I think it’s a lot about the head.”
Bottas will need his newfound psychic power when he joins Alfa Romeo. That leaves a championship-winning team that has scored only 21 points over the past two seasons, with a best result of eighth.
He is hoping a change in aerodynamic rules for next season, aimed at closing the disparity between the 10 teams and fighting closer on the track, will push Alfa Romeo closer to the front.
“I asked myself, do I want this, or should I try something else?” Bottas said. “That was also an option, but I never seriously considered leaving Formula 1 because deep inside me, I still love Formula 1, the competition and many things about it.”