Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has revealed Valtteri Bottas “wants to disappear” after a disappointing 2018 Formula 1 season and start afresh next year.

The Finn lost out to teammate Lewis Hamilton at the season finale in Abu Dhabi which denied him a final shot at a first win of 2018 before a brake issue dropped him down the order to finish a lowly fifth place and cap a frustrating season.

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CrashTV: 

Speaking after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Wolff shared sympathy for his driver – having said Mercedes’ team orders to prioritise Hamilton in the F1 world championship fight hurt his performances – and is eager for Bottas to bounce back in 2019.

“He said to be he just wants to disappear back home, recharge the battery, recover and recuperate, and then come back next year,” Bottas said. “I think it’s just been very long. I can understand the frustration.

“Speaking with the drivers, once the championship opportunity’s been taken away, there is a drop, and I think we have seen that this year.”

Bottas was the only driver out of the top six in the championship to fail to secure an F1 race win in 2018 and finished an underwhelming fifth place in the drivers’ standings with just eight podiums across 21 races.

The Finn did help Mercedes secure a fifth consecutive F1 world constructors’ title with Hamilton wrapping up a fifth drivers’ world crown.

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