F1 News: Valtteri Bottas reveals shocking realization from his time at Mercedes

It was tough for the Finnish driver to take in some hard-hitting facts.

Sauber F1 driver Valtteri Bottas, who drove for Mercedes for five years from 2017 to 2022 alongside Lewis Hamilton, revealed that he considered himself to be at par with the seven-time world champion until it dawned upon him in the last year that he was mistaken and that he was in denial over the same reason over the five years.

Bottas stayed with Mercedes until George Russell replaced him last year. It was only in 2021 that Bottas recognized he couldn’t outperform Hamilton and secure a championship win despite having the same car.

As per the Fin, to come to terms with the realization was a tough pill to swallow. After all, numbers speak for themselves. In the five years with the Brackley outfit, Bottas won just 10 Grands Prix, whereas Hamilton went on to win 50 races. Speaking to Motorsport.com, Bottas revealed his realization:

You have to be in denial. 

“I was in denial for almost five years because every year, I wanted to get back to the season and then fight for the title and I had to believe in myself.

 

“It was only when I knew that I was leaving the team then that I noticed that I was a bit more fine with certain things.

 

“I was allowing to accept some of those kind of things. So, for sure, in your career, you go through those kind of things…

 

“With Lewis [Hamilton], only in the last year could I accept to myself that in equal machinery over a period of a full season, I really struggled to beat him and that he’s probably better in certain areas. As a racing driver, to admit that to yourself, is hard.”

Transparency At Mercedes

When Bottas was asked if he needed to be told that he could beat Hamilton with the car he was driving, he denied it saying that all data was kept in the open. He said:

“No, it was quite open meetings.

“Everything is based on facts and what they can see through the data on those things. You could see the average difference in qualifying or race pace. Nothing was avoided.

“I have no regrets because it was a tricky situation for me because I was every year on a one-year contract.

“I knew that if I wanted to fight for the title, I needed to be buried in this team. If I started to be an arsehole, I would lose my job pretty easily. They could always get someone else.”

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