Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2018

Bottas was waiting for season to end in final laps

2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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A dejected Valtteri Bottas says he was just waiting for the season to end over the final laps of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

The Mercedes driver started on the front row of the grid but dropped from second to fifth in the final stint as he suspected a problem with his car. He made a second pit stop which left him out of touch with the leaders.

“The last few laps, it felt so long,” he said. “I wanted to finish the season. I’m glad it’s over.”

Bottas said his final race of the year reflected a season which began promisingly but ended in disappointment.

“I think overall the race sums up the season quite well: started off quite well and then everything turns to shit.

“I had initially a lock-up into turn five, when Sebastian [Vettel] got close, and then he got DRS and overtook me.

Initially I thought it was purely my mistake – which in the end it was. But the wind suddenly turned around so for the wind I would’ve had to brake a bit earlier, but at the same time, the team could find on the rear right brake some vibration and some issue.

“So sometimes the front brakes had to work harder than the rear brakes to compensate and that meant there were sudden lock-ups. The same thing happened when I went straight and [Max] Verstappen got close. So we still need to investigate what was exactly the issue with the brakes.”

Bottas also damaged his floor when he and Verstappen made contact, but he dismissed the collision as a racing incident.

“It’s just racing. We both wanted to gain the position. Yeah, we did touch, I was the one who lost there, as I lost the position and also I had floor damage and we had to do a pit stop also in the end. But for me it was racing, it was fun.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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  • 40 comments on “Bottas was waiting for season to end in final laps”

    1. Bottas will not be at Mercedes in 2019 – contract or not.

      Mark my words.

      1. @kbdavies
        Your words have been marked. I will remember them come March.

      2. Ocon will take his seat. Mark my words ;-)

        1. Mercedes dont want to give any half decent driver that seat in case it upsets Hamilton – just look at the Rosberg fiasco

      3. I wouldn’t be surprised. Toto’s facial language said a lot near the end.

    2. I can’t really blame Valtteri here. I’ve felt that way too, but for quite a few races already. 16 races are about 5 too many, especially when the battle for the championship repeatedly dies a quiet death before September ends. The fact that there were only two drivers in that battle pretty much from the start of the season, with two token entries who waste space at their sides (in that sense, I do blame Valtteri), only made it worse.

      1. Next year we will hopefully have at least 5 contenders with Leclerc and the Red Bulls stepping up. Stay positive.

        1. And maybe Ocon in the second Mercedes from some point in 2019.
          Not sure if he is better, but least worth a try.

        2. @rethla
          I do have high hopes for Leclerc. But I’ve yet to see the faintest glimmer of an indication that the switch to Honda will result in anything but a step backward. Until last week, the story went: “Yeah, we’ve had a lot of engine changes, but never for reliability reasons. In fact, we’ll stop using new engines now.”
          And then, two of those stockpiled engines (with a fraction of the mileage their closest competitors had at this stage of the season) go bang in as many days.
          Also, it remains to be seen whether Gasly will be able to perform on the same level as Ricciardo. Red Bull themselves didn’t think so, or else they wouldn’t have offered Ricciardo a contract extension.
          So, no: I don’t think there’s much to be positive about. I expect them to stay third, but I don’t see them fighting for victories, not to mention the title.

          1. I expect them to stay third, but I don’t see them fighting for victories, not to mention the title.

            Agreed, that’s where I’d expect RBR to be as well. And if Renault finally start to come good, RBR might be looking nervously over their shoulder as well – not at the risk of being outraced, but at the risk of being threatened on points, if Renault’s reliability makes up for its performance.

        3. Honda for red bull is a side step in the best case scenario. In reality it is a downgrade. We have not seen much or any progress from honda this year. They are probably closer to renault which is not really an achievement considering how poor job renault is doing as welll. Honda are still taking massive engine penalties and gaming the system to get fresh engines for their japanese grand prix or switching to new parts. The exact same thing they did with mclaren. All the while starting from the back of the grid. With toro rosso honda have been able to do all this with much less publicity than they had with mclaren. But with red bull all these issues will be displayed once again right there in the bright center of the screen. Plus who knows how many new additional issues honda will have when they have to supply 2 teams instead of just one…

          That being said I think we might see actual division 2 cars on the podium come next year. All we need is two of the division 1 cars to have a dnf and red bull being slow and starting from the back of the grid because of endless engine penalties. I expect red bull to suffer and force india or renault and/or even mclaren to score couple of podiums together.

    3. The difficulty for Valtteri is no matter which team he drives for his chances of competing with Lewis and Sebastian are way less than the chances he has in a Mercedes. As far as I know Mercedes only once invoked team orders to allow Lewis to win a race, which is probably as good as one could expect. Second place on the podium doesn’t sound fantastic if you’re expecting to win every race, but Valtteri has got 7 second places, far more than any other driver this season.

      1. Agreed but unfortunately and he has also had some bad luck but the worst part is that he has frequently under performed given the car he is driving. Unless he ups his game I think Ocon will definitely replace him in 2020, if not sooner.

        1. He misses that little bit extra feistiness, which interestingly he still had back in his Williams days.

          PS I find his comments extremely ungrateful, given that all drivers behind are driving their backsides off and would do anything for his seat.

        2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          26th November 2018, 7:34

          I just get puzzled by the level of people saying Ocon should replace him. What evidence do we have that Ocon could be better? Given the cars they have, it is very hard to judge if Ocon is better. Bottas has way more experience in F1 and has 4 at his previous team and will have had 3 at Mercedes by the end of next year. If he makes a step up on this year in 2019, he very likely could remain at Mercedes.

          1. You are right. Perez should be on that second seat

            1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
              26th November 2018, 19:29

              Well, I still don’t think we’ve quite seen enough to say Ocon is better than Perez as a whole and Perez is far more experienced. But I personally think Botats is just slightly better than Perez. Perez seesm to be able to manage his tyres well, but he’s has quite a few races in his career that he’s been responsible for his own or others retirements. While Bottas has never done this in his whole career. He just needs to do a full season and keep up his pace he had at the start. I don’t think Perez is far off Bottas at all though.

            2. Kimi Raikonen does not endorse this statement

    4. I am really sorry it has not gone well for Valtteri, as he comes across as a great guy, really straightforward and very likeable.

      I remember Anthony Hamilton saying a couple of years back that Lewis has a habit of wrecking drivers’ careers and he had a point, even though it came across as a bit insensitive. Alonso had a significant meltdown. Heiki and Valteri, both previously very highly rated, have been made to look rather ordinary. Nico eventually got the better of Lewis once, and promptly retired, saying it had taken giving over his whole life to manage to do it. Jenson came out statistically well, and occasionally genuinely beat Lewis, but folks who actually watched the races will recall how often Lewis was on another planet.

      I believe the 2018 Hamilton has been at a level where it is a struggle to think of any driver in the history of the sport would have had the better of him over the season. That’s a tough thing for Valtteri to have to deal with.

      1. @paulguitar very nice comment, agreed with most of it.

        I believe the 2018 Hamilton has been at a level where it is a struggle to think of any driver in the history of the sport would have had the better of him over the season.

        If the RedBull boys had the 2018 Ferrari under them i bet it would have been a different story. Danny “the burglar” Ricciardo knows how to pounce whenever there’s a slight chance of a race win, and Max when he gets his act perfectly together can beat anyone in this sport.

        1. “Danny “the burglar” Ricciardo knows how to pounce whenever there’s a slight chance of a race win, and Max when he gets his act perfectly together can beat anyone in this sport”

          He’s a good burglar whenever he has a tyre advantage, i.e the car he’s chasing down is on pretty worn out ones, think i’m lying? watch the Chinese GP again and tell me where on the track he was before the SC came out.

      2. @paulguitar – I am going to disagree with you a bit, paul. When you tot it all up, Hamilton did have a really good season. However, his really good season was amplified by problems at Ferrari and Vettel driving like a child. Nothing against Hamilton—he will likely go down as one of the greatest ever, if not the greatest. But if Vettel had kept his nose clean and Ferrari stopped development rather than go down the rabbit hole, it would likely not have been such a runaway.

        TL;DR: Great finish to the season by HAM, but I don’t think it was untouchable.

        1. “However, his really good season was amplified by problems at Ferrari and Vettel driving like a child”

          It can also be argued that Lewis was performing on such a level that it forced Vettel into driving in this manner?

          1. Not everything revolves around Lewis. Some of Vettels mistakes were when he was under no pressure – just lack of concentration / petulance

        2. Indeed. F1 races would be drastically different if NO DRIVER ever had any problems.

    5. Every one even Lewis fans wanted Bottas to get one win before the season end. But where was he? Nowhere in this race just like in the last few races.
      I was thinking during the race if Bottas end up 2 sec behind Ham, then Ham might move over for him and he would get the win he lost in Russia. But Bottas never managed that.

      1. Why do peolpe wish for underperforming drivers to get a win and at the same time people are shouting the drivers make to little difference in F1?

        Bottas can go to Lemans if he want a win.

      2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        26th November 2018, 7:30

        But what was the point of staying within 2 seconds in Russia? Bottas asked if the position would be returned and he was told it wouldn’t be. He maintained a 2 and a half second gap showing he could go the same speed. There was no point driving close knowing that he wouldn’t get let past.

        If Bottas was nowhere in this last race, then Hamilton was even more in the middle of nowhere from lap 17 to 36. As in those 20 laps, Bottas was actually faster than Hamilton as he closed the gap from 11 seconds to under 7 at times despide only being about 6 laps difference in tyre age. Some of the time Hamilton was ahead of Bottas was due to pitting during the safety car.

        However, what i will say is Bottas did struggle was when he locked up. But given what he did to his tyres, that is understandable. He certainly didn’t have a good race, but he wasn’t exactly poor at all until well past half way.

        1. …but he wasn’t exactly poor at all until well past half way.

          Beating Lewis requires a lot more than being decent for half a race… Look at VER, he was incredible for 99% of the race in Brazil, but that 1% negligence cost him a race win to Lewis.

        2. @thegianthogweed That slow pace is the reason Ham wins so much. He looks after his tires when he needs to and goes hammer time when asked. He knew with his old tires Ferrari and Red Bull would attack near the end and he had plenty of speed because he approached the stint conservatively.

    6. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      26th November 2018, 2:31

      It was sad for him to end the season on such a low note. He started off the season well but was unlucky. However the end of the season was not what I expected from him and it sounds like he’s disappointed in himself more than anyone else.

    7. Bottas was well and truly broken this season. But if he’s hit rock bottom, he can only improve next year, a-la Nico in 2016. I don’t think he’ll win a championship, but he could at least give others a run for their money.

      1. He can only go up from here.
        – Bottas/Stroll 2018

    8. The challenge Bottas is facing is he is digging deep and not finding anything and he’s getting depressed because he’s under the spotlight.
      True he’s been unlucky, but Hamilton has probably lost the same amount of wins as he, aside the gift.
      When also measured against, Max, Send, Kimi, Ric, he still doesn’t shine to much.
      It’s affecting him.

    9. A lot of people giving Bottas a hard time, and I understand that given the second half of his season was lacklustre to say the least. But remember that he was actually performing very well next to Lewis over the first 6-7 races and was arguably the slightly better driver over that stint. He just got horrible luck which meant the results never reflected his performance. This took him out of contention for the championship and I think since then his motivation must have suffered.

      Don’t get me wrong, he still should have done better in that car but I expect him to come back stronger at the start of next year. He just needs a bit more mental fortitude to deal with the tough breaks and keep performing at his best level throughout the season, then I think we’d see him with a few wins and a lot closer to Hamilton overall (wouldn’t expect him to be ahead with Hamilton in current form though).

    10. Bottas, the most over rated driver in F1.
      He needs to do what Rosberg did. He has the best F1 car, so he MUST finish the championship, AT LEAST in 2nd.
      As I always stated here, not a World Champion Material.

      1. Except when Rosberg was finishing 2nd, it was pretty much a 2 horse race between him and Lewis, that has not been the case since he retired

      2. Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
        26th November 2018, 17:03

        It’s difficult to be overrated when hardly anyone rates you anyway.

      3. Thats how Rosberg beat Lewis to the title – you don’t have to win every race. Thats something Lewis learnt himself that year.

      4. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        26th November 2018, 22:17

        I don’t think Bottas is over rated as not many people rate him that high. I myself do think he’s pretty good but has been rather disappointing in the 2nd half of this season.

        But saying he’s in the best car just isn’t true the whole time. He’s had a tough team mate in the same car all year. And in at over half of the races this year, Ferrari and or Red Bull have been matched or better during the races. I do think Rosberg is better, but not actually by that much. If Bottas had been at Mercedes in 2014 – 2016, he will have got far more points and been much closer to Hamilton. We haven’t seen Rosberg in a team that is consistently fighting with 2 others for the win. Red Bull may not have the qualifying pace, but in at least a 3rd of the races this year, they have been right up there with Ferrari and Mercedes. The Mercedes just can’t be considered the definite best car any more.

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