Valtteri Bottas Criticizes the Nature of His Mercedes F1 Contracts

Published 11/10/2021, 4:05 AM EST
Motor racing – Formula One – Russian Grand Prix – Sochi Autodrom, Sochi, Russia – September 24, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas arrives at the circuit REUTERS/Anton Vaganov


Usually, when a driver leaves a championship-winning team like Mercedes for a rather struggling mid-field team like Alfa Romeo, there would be regrets and anguish that they wouldn’t be able to dominate and win races anymore.  But, with Valtteri Bottas, that hasn’t been the case.

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The Finn is heaving a huge sigh of relief and is awaiting the end of 2021 so he could move out of the Brackley outfit. And the feeling is indeed mutual, as Mercedes, too, are awaiting the arrival of a much younger and challenging George Russell.

Of course, on the outlook, Bottas’ poor performance is certainly the reason Mercedes opted to terminate his contract. But, let’s dive deeper into the subject, shall we? Who would you blame for Bottas’ poor run with Mercedes? Is he really that uncompetitive?

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Well, Bottas, himself, is blaming Mercedes for his struggles in the past 5 years.

What did Valtteri Bottas say?

During a podcast, Bottas opened up that he never had the peace of mind while racing with Mercedes because the team hardly ever secured his future and always kept the contract extension to the very last minute. Hence, Bottas acknowledged that he was constantly under pressure.

Formula One F1 – Mexico Grand Prix – Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico – November 6, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas after qualifying in pole position Pool via REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

If I knew in 2017 that I would be with a team for five years, I think I would have given myself a bit more time to learn about things, step-by-step and also be a bit more forgiving to myself. But, in my mind, I thought it was like a 1-year opportunity,” he said while featuring in the ‘Beyond the Grid’ podcast.

And the next year, the same thing. It was always 1 year, 1 year, 1 year. So, I never had that peace of mind to give me a bit of flexibility on my own criticism.

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Bottas reckons he could’ve done better otherwise

The podcast host, Tom Clarkson, asked Bottas whether he could’ve performed better had Mercedes gone easy on his contract signings. “Knowing myself now and how I felt since I’ve secured my future, absolutely. But, it’s a bit late now,” Bottas concluded.

Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Intercity Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – October 10, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas celebrates with champagne on the podium after winning the race REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Overall, the good news is Bottas is now free of the pressure that had been allegedly resisting his true performance. Hence, can the Finn bring his A-game to the upcoming season with Alfa Romeo? Well, we’ll know soon enough.

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Rohit Kumar

1439 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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