Valtteri Bottas has revealed that he almost left Formula 1 after struggling to compete with that time-Mercedes teammate Sir Lewis Hamilton.
In 2017, Bottas moved from Williams to Mercedes after the unexpected retirement of Nico Rosberg, and while not as quick as Hamilton, the Finn showed good promise by winning three Grands Prix.
However, he failed to win a race the following season, finishing the season in fifth place, 161 points away from Hamilton, as the Brit won the title.
There were rumors at the time that Mercedes might replace Bottas, and the 32-year-old has now revealed that he had walked away from the sport at the time.
he told Motor Sport Magazine Podcast: ‘At the end of 2018, I almost stopped, it was so close. Just because I couldn’t understand and understand the fact that I couldn’t beat Lewis in those two years.
‘I put so much pressure on myself. At the end of ’18, especially when I started getting supporting roles in the team, I really couldn’t take it, I was really struggling. it was not fun.
The last four or five races of ’18 were more painful because you should enjoy F1 and that’s great, but it wasn’t like that at all.
‘The human mind is so strange that sometimes you go into dark places. You lose the joy in things, and I have completely lost the joy of F1 and racing. I was almost angry at F1.’
In the end, Bottas stalled and 2019 had the best year of his career, and for the first half of the season looked like a real title challenger.
He said: ‘I took a good break between the two seasons and had to really think things through. It’s weird, but I just need some time, and think about the big picture and then I realize “well, this is a really great game and I still have great opportunities ahead of me” . I would be foolish not to take them.
‘probably [in] In mid-January, I decided “Okay, let’s do this. I still can”. I managed to get myself together and enjoy driving again.
‘Immediately, the results were much better. I’ve won a few races, and especially by the halfway point of the season, I was sometimes even leading the championship, so it was a very strong year, but then Lewis’s consistency and overall performance for the whole season, I Could not match.’
For 2022, Bottas was replaced by George Russell at Mercedes, with the Finn moving to the lowly Alfa Romeo team, but had a remarkable start to the season, leaving him eighth in the standings after nine races.
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