Valtteri Bottas has revealed he considered retiring from Formula 1 after being forced to hand Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton the win at the 2018 Russian Grand Prix.

Bottas was ordered to move over for Hamilton while leading the race in Sochi, leading to the infamous team radio message: “Valtteri, it’s James...”

At the time, Hamilton was involved in a title fight against Sebastian Vettel and Mercedes felt it had to swap the cars due to Hamilton’s front tyres developing a blister, thus securing the 1-2 finish in Russia.

 

Speaking in Netflix’s ‘Drive to Survive’ F1 documentary, Bottas admitted he considered quitting the sport following the race in Sochi.

“Sochi 2018, that was a pretty tough race,” Bottas said. “Tough to accept. I was pretty angry. “Honestly I was thinking ‘Why do I do this?’. I was thinking of quitting [F1], of giving up. Straight after the race, I said I would not do it again.”

Team orders hasn't been an issue for Bottas in the past two seasons as the Finn has been Hamilton's nearest challenger for the title, meaning Mercedes has often let the pair race without any intervention.

2021 might be different though given Red Bull’s Max Verstappen impressive form over pre-season testing making the Dutchman a likely threat to Mercedes for the title.

Again in the same episode, Bottas spoke about how he wants to prove that he’s not just a ‘number two’ driver.

“If your teammate wins and you are second, you feel like you lose. I know I’ve been second in the past, but I want to prove I’m not just a number two.”

While Mercedes maintains both of its drivers have equal footing in the team, Bottas admits teams “unconsciously” have a hierarchy.

“In the team, even though many wouldn’t admit it, maybe unconsciously they have a number one and a number two,” Bottas added. “Sometimes the team members had to question themselves: ‘Are we giving equal treatment to Lewis and Valtteri?'”

 

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