Bottas took five “exhausting” years to accept Hamilton was the better driver

Valtteri Bottas has described his five-year stint alongside seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes as “exhausting”.
(L to R): Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates in parc ferme with third placed team mate Valtteri
(L to R): Race winner Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 celebrates in…

Bottas was Hamilton’s teammate between 2017 and 2021, with the team remaining unbeaten in the F1 constructors’ championship.

Hamilton won four of the five drivers’ titles in that period, while Bottas finished a distant runner-up on two occasions.

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The Finn was unable to mount a serious title challenge in either year Mercedes were dominant - 2019 or 2020, and in the other years, he was forced to aid Hamilton’s title bids against Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen.

Bottas was ultimately replaced by George Russell for 2022, although Mercedes did wait to ensure the Finn could find his drive at Alfa Romeo.

Reflecting on his time at Mercedes, Bottas conceded that accepting Hamilton was simply the better driver was “hard to accept.”

"For such a competitive nature, it was hard to accept,” he told Finnish journalist Maria Veitola "It was only in the last year [2021] that I could accept that Lewis Hamilton was a better driver.

"I always wondered how I could beat him and win the world championship. 

"It was quite an exhausting five years. I wanted to win everything right away, and then when it didn't happen, it was hard to accept."

Bottas enters his second year at Alfa Romeo alongside Zhou Guanyu in F1 2023.

Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Alfa Romeo F1 Team C42. Formula 1 Testing, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, Tuesday.-
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Alfa Romeo F1 Team C42. Formula 1 Testing, Yas…

Alfa Romeo enjoyed their best finish since 2012 (as Sauber) after they finished sixth in the constructors’ championship ahead of Aston Martin.

While Alfa Romeo started 2022 strongly with regular points finishes, a lack of development combined with poor reliability meant they slipped back as the season progressed.

Looking ahead to the new season, Bottas explained his and the team’s ambitions.

“I had a good break, which is important, because now as we start getting to the season, then we go pretty much full gas until the end of the year, so like, the mental reset and physical reset is important, so I’m full of energy and keen to go,” he said.

“We need to achieve more, it’s simple as that, we always need to aim for better, aim for higher, the whole team, and myself included. We always need to keep improving, that’s what drives us, so, expecting... better consistency, more points, better results – but how to get there, that’s the tricky bit. That comes from all the details and working really, really hard together as a team.”

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