Bottas ‘avoided looking at the headlines’ after “tough” F1 Sakhir GP

Mercedes F1 driver Valtteri Bottas says he purposely avoided social media and looking at news stories in the media following what he described as a “tough” Sakhir GP.
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 on the grid.
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 on the grid.

Mercedes Formula 1 driver Valtteri Bottas says he purposely avoided social media and looking at news stories in the media following what he described as a “tough” Sakhir Grand Prix.

Bottas lost the lead to stand-in teammate George Russell at the start of last weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix and was running in second place when a pitstop tyre mix-up from Mercedes ruined both drivers’ races.

The Finn ended up being sent back out on his original set of old Hard tyres in fifth place, while Russell had to return to the pits for a second time after having some of Bottas’ tyres fitted to his car.

Bottas struggled with tyre degradation and ultimately slumped to eighth, one place ahead of the recovering Russell who looked set to challenge for victory until a late puncture ended his hopes of a fairytale maiden win.

"Obviously on Sunday I got to deal with all the media and when the driver has a bad race you have to deal with it and I did,” Bottas said.

“I’ve learned from the past that sometimes the best thing to do is to block everything, not to look at anything. So, after Sunday I haven’t looked at any single headline, any single news article or social media, so that’s the way sometimes you have to do and it works for me.

“I feel, again, full of energy for the new weekend, I feel that I’m in a place that I can perform and that’s the main thing. Every driver has his own way to re-set and get back up when you have a bad moment.”

Speaking ahead of this weekend’s season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Bottas admitted that he has not been performing at his best since his title loss to Lewis Hamilton was confirmed at the Turkish Grand Prix.

Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W11.
Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W11.

“All I can say is that since Imola it has been a run of really bad luck and I can’t even remember the last time I was in the podium,” Bottas explained. “I feel that I’ve not really been performing in the last few races, but of course I still try, I try to extract everything I can.

“There are many factors in this sport, sometimes it’s luck, sometimes it’s what you do yourself in and outside the car.  All I can say is that I can do much better than if you look at the last four races, on average. I feel that I need to do better

“In this kind of moments, when you feel that you don’t perform at 100 per cent for many different races, for different reasons, for sure there’s a lot to learn about,” he added.

“It’s no secret that battling with Lewis for years and years, I know how much it takes out of me, every single weekend trying to get 100 per cent out of me and keep pushing.

“Sometimes I get close, sometimes I managed to beat him. Having fought four years in a row, a defeat for the championship title is tough to accept. For sure it has an effect and when you know that the title is lost, it’s not quite the same, even though you should always give 100 per cent and that’s what I try.

“We all know how mentally sensitive this sport is, so I think there’s lots to learn from this year, again, and hopefully I can use it for the future.”

Bottas sits just 16 points clear of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in the battle to seal second place in the championship and requires a top-five finish in Abu Dhabi to beat the Dutchman to the position.

“It would better than third,” he said. “Being in this team, as a Mercedes driver, the team deserves to be one-two, with the car that we have this year so, of course, that is the target.”

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