Valtteri Bottas is sure Mercedes’ rare defeat to Red Bull at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will give the team extra motivation over the F1 winter break.

Bottas was unable to contend with the speed of eventual race winner Max Verstappen, ultimately classifying 15.9s behind the Dutchman at the chequered flag.

Right from the off Bottas was unable to stay with Verstappen but he managed to keep teammate Lewis Hamilton at arm’s length for much of the 55-lap race.

Reflecting on the race, Bottas said: “For sure I tried everything I could. I noticed pretty early on in the first stint that Max and Red Bull had more pace. The first stint was quite understeery for me, it was a short stint but I felt that was a bit of a limitation. We made a small adjustment on the front flat for the second stint and that felt, actually, balance-wise, not bad but not just quick enough.

“For sure it was a surprise, we expected the race pace to be pretty much identical, but it wasn’t the case today.”

It was the first time in 2020 that Red Bull truly outperformed Mercedes across a whole race weekend and the Finn believes it will motivate his team further over the winter to ensure it doesn’t happen again next season.

“I’ve had much worse races this year so, you know, in this kind of season this was one of the good ones for me, but at least it was nice and clean, the start was good and everything,” Bottas said.

“It could have been a worse way to end the season and, actually if we think about the big picture, knowing this team, being beaten by Red Bull in the last race of the season, for sure it motivates us even more to work over the winter, for next year, to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”

Bottas’ P2 finish means he secures runner-up spot in the drivers’ championship for the second year running behind Hamilton.

While he was well behind top spot in the final standings, Bottas stressed the importance of securing second given Mercedes’ dominance in 2020.

“You know, as a driver, when you are in the best team overall this season, being second you cannot be that satisfied,” Bottas added. “But it is something to be able to contribute to the team this season, to the fourth constructors’ title for me, seventh in a row for us.

“It’s better than being third, for sure, I guess I’ll get a small trophy to take home next week, so when I’m old and grey I can look at this season and say, ‘yes, I was second’. Hopefully, I’ll get a bigger trophy one day.”

 

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