What is your most disappointing finding

Bottas: My most disappointing season in Formula 1 in 2018

(Motorsport-Total.com) - "I'm happy that this season is over," says Valtteri Bottas. And you take that from the Finnish racing driver. The blows to the neck that he took in Formula 1 in 2018 were too big and numerous. Sometimes reliability prevented success, sometimes there was stable management in favor of his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton. And the bottom line is that Bottas was simply not fast enough.

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Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas feels mentally drained after the 2018 season Zoom

The hardest thing is probably the final result in the drivers' standings: Hamilton as the superior world champion, Bottas with a deficit of more than 150 points - and only in fifth place, behind both Ferrari drivers and Red Bull man Max Verstappen. That is not enough for his own claims, says Bottas, especially since he also had no win this year. Hamilton, on the other hand, won eleven of 21 races and also clearly beat Bottas in qualifying 15: 6.

The conclusion that Bottas draws after this season is therefore not surprising: "I think it was my worst season so far. There were also positive things, although it is difficult to see in view of the disappointment." He has just improved in direct comparison to Hamilton, says Bottas, was on average closer to his teammate. "So there was progress," explains the Mercedes driver.

Why the statistics only tell half the story

That's right - partly. In qualifying, for example, Bottas improved and averaged 100.334 percent of the pole position time (2017: 100.508 percent). But in 2017 that still resulted in an average of P3 on the grid, in 2018 it was only P4 despite the increase. And with 19 points results in each of the two seasons, Bottas did significantly better in 2017 with 305 points and P3 than in 2018 with 248 points and P5. In addition, his podium quota fell from 65 to 38 percent. (Database comparison: Valtteri Bottas vs. Lewis Hamilton in the 2018 Formula 1 season!)

What these statistics do not show, of course, are scenes like in Baku: Bottas led the race and had victory in mind, until shortly before the end a piece of debris slashed his right rear tire and forced him to give up. Probably because of such incidents, the 29-year-old Bottas ponders retrospectively: "The season could definitely have been very different." Because if Bottas had won in Baku, his chances for the title would have remained intact longer - after all.

"Of course it's disappointing when you look back and see how it came about," says Bottas. Especially since he had noticed an upward trend in himself. He has improved from season to season in Formula 1. "And then came 2018," he explains further. "I can remember being disappointed with my season at the same time last year. I didn't achieve my goals but at least won a few races. So my disappointment is much bigger now. I think it was my worst season so far . "

What hurt Bottas the most

Bottas did not only realize this after the final in Abu Dhabi. Even before that, the Finn seemed mentally cracked. At least that's what TV expert Martin Brundle wants to have recognized. His analysis of the Bottas season 2018: On the one hand, the "outstanding constant speed" of Hamilton, on the other hand, the stable management in Russia Bottas had badly. "So he was just the water carrier," says Brundle.

The former Formula 1 driver even goes one step further in view of the Mercedes driver's meager season record: "He's lucky to get another chance [2019]. And one has to assume: If Toto Wolff had known what he now knows , then he would have thought about putting Ocon in the cockpit. And Ocon is now a substitute driver at Mercedes. So let's see what Valtteri can do. " In other words: If Bottas does not get going in 2019, he is threatened with being replaced by Ocon in 2020.


Photo gallery: drivers and teams of Formula 1 2019

For Bottas himself, however, less such scenarios are in the foreground than the processing of the 2018 season. "We have to analyze why the results did not materialize. There have been many races in a row in which I lost points for various reasons. And at some point it was clear that I would no longer have a chance for the title," says Bottas. He speaks of "a few strange races" and of simply "not having any luck" in 2018.

Bottas needs distance from Formula 1

But that's just a sober look back at the Formula 1 year. An entirely different picture emerges from an emotional point of view. Because Bottas himself said right after the final in Abu Dhabi: "I would like to just disappear now." What he now needs is some distance from the Grand Prix circus and the pressure that he has as a Silver Arrows works driver alongside world champion Hamilton.

The winter break is just right for Bottas this year. "I have four weeks to think about my season and recharge my batteries mentally. I lost this mental strength this year. The season was very exhausting," he explains. The proverbial hole in which he fell also had to do with his own expectations and demands: "I had set myself big goals. But when it became clear over the course of the year that I would not be able to achieve them, a lot of people kicked me Error on. "

And suddenly one thing came to another and the thread was cut. "It was difficult to deal with it," said Bottas. "That's why I feel really drained right now." However, he also believes that the experience of the 2018 season will "harden" him as a person and a racing driver. But before that happens, he needs a distance. "I'll try [during the winter break] to think about Formula 1 as little as possible," says Bottas. But maybe 2018 won't let go of him at all ...