Bottas Surprises With Unexpected Hamilton Admission Amidst ‘Painful’ 2018 Russian GP

Published 09/23/2021, 10:43 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – May 2, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton after winning the race alongside third place Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo


Valtteri Bottas’s experiences at Sochi have been varied. The Mercedes driver has won the Russian GP in 2017 and recently in 2020. However, the 2018 season remains fresh in the Finn’s mind. Now, on his final season with the team, would Bottas be willing to sacrifice his race for Hamilton?

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Team orders may come like a nightmare for Valtteri Bottas, but he would be willing to follow them at Sochi again. Looking back at the 2018 race, after some well-timed pit stops, Hamilton battled Vettel for third and eventually took the place. Max Verstappen led the race and Bottas was between the two. Soon, team orders were given and Bottas had to move aside for his teammate.

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In a similar situation now, Hamilton only switches his championship rival to Max Verstappen. Knowing this, Bottas stated, “Every race is always different. There could be times that we need to play as a team, and I need to take one for the team.”

Understanding the intensity of the championship battle, Bottas wishes to do his best in helping Hamilton win the title. “At this situation, how the situation is, yes, I would do it because we’re here as a team and really need to make sure that we win both titles, not only the constructors’ but also drivers.”

A prime example of teamwork, Bottas stays true to his team at Mercedes.

Valtteri Bottas remembers a devastating 2018 race

It’s a tight battle for the top as Mercedes and Red Bull lock horns every other race. The pendulum swings either way and with the season’s end drawing near, neither team can afford that. Although sacrificing his race isn’t the best feeling, Bottas wants to see his team reign victorious.

Formula One F1 – Portuguese Grand Prix – Algarve International Circuit – Portimao, Portugal – May 2, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action during the race REUTERS/Juan Medina

Bottas reflected on the 2018 race. The driver looked to push faster and challenge Verstappen for the race lead when the team orders came in. In order to protect Hamilton from Sebastian Vettel, Bottas had to give up his position.

He remembers feeling differently then than he does now. “That’s a few years ago, but at least now I can be fine with things. At that point, yes, it was painful. And for me, it was hard to accept.” The driver was furious at the use of team orders and had considered leaving the sport as a result.

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Having grown as a driver, Bottas now looks at the situation with a fresh perspective. “We’ve obviously moved on since, and also I’ve grown a lot since. Things are a bit different now.”

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As Bottas leaves Mercedes this season, undoubtedly the team will miss the sportsmanship the Finn offered. Nonetheless, at Alfa Romeo, it would be his time to shine in the spotlight.

Watch this story: Lewis Hamilton’s Biggest F1 Crashes

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Shreya Sanjeev

470 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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