Valtteri Bottas has labelled his 2018 campaign as the “worst season” of his Formula 1 career based on his results.

Bottas has failed to win so far in his second year with Mercedes and is looking to avoid becoming the first driver not to score a grand prix victory for the team since Michael Schumacher in 2012 at this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Finn had a difficult first campaign in an uncompetitive Williams during 2013, before the team’s fortunes improved in the early phase of the V6 hybrid era. A switch to Mercedes followed in 2017, with Bottas picking up four pole positions and three race wins in his maiden season with the German manufacturer.

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When asked if he felt 2018 had been his most difficult year to date, Bottas replied: “Yes, I think it is.

“For sure the first season was tough but you cannot compare because with Williams, in 2013, we were fighting at the back but I felt that I did the most that I could do.

“Then the few seasons afterwards were definitively better than this one.

“Last year was quite different from this year: it was my first year with the team, the first year alongside Lewis and I remember this time last year I was disappointed that I hadn’t met my targets.

“But now, when I look back, at least I had won some races, got some poles. Now, at this point, at this very moment, I’m even more disappointed, for sure. Yes, this has been my worst season, so far.”

Bottas believes he has performed at a higher level compared to 2017 but simply has not had the results to show for it due to the misfortune he suffered early on in the season, most notably suffering a puncture while leading in Baku with three laps to go. 

“I think there’s been quite a few good races but things just haven’t gone my way,” he explained.

“I would say that, in general, I’ve been unlucky this year, but there’s more than that. I know for a fact that I’ve performed better compared to last year, that’s the only thing that matters after a season like this.

“You just have to learn and try to forget, but this is definitively a season that will make me a tougher person and driver for the future.”

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