F1 sporting boss, Ross Brawn, has acknowledged that Mercedes had the best season possible, winning both the drivers’ and constructors’ title for the fifth consecutive time, and the only low point was the performance of Valtteri Bottas.
“The only slight flaw, if there can be one in a season like this, was the performance of Valtteri Bottas, who had a difficult season, plagued by bad luck,” said Brawn.
“Valtteri had some opportunities to win, but either through misfortune, as in Baku, or due to the occasional, understandable, decision by the team to maximise the result for the benefit of both championships he didn’t manage it.”
Brawn was obviously referring to the Russian Grand Prix in his last sentence, where Bottas was asked to let teammate Hamilton through as he was under pressure from title rival Vettel, despite the Finn dominating the entire weekend until that point.
However, that was just one of the high points in what was an otherwise a disappointing season for a team as accomplished as Mercedes. “He seemed rather out of sorts by the end of the campaign,” Brawn said of Bottas.
The Finn, who was once in prime position to end third in the driver’s championship, eventually ended up fifth behind his main rivals for that place, Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen. He underwent a poor phase at the end of the season, with five consecutive fifth-place finishes.
It was still a close race for that third place, with all three drivers finishing within four points of each other but Bottas will feel that he rather let go of that opportunity considering his end of the season exploits.
He was the perfect teammate to Hamilton across the season, Russia being just one of the instances. He followed instructions to not attack him in Germany and changed strategies mid-way through the Italian GP to enable Hamilton to get the jump on Raikkonen.
However, his individual races suffered as a result and he’d be hoping for a more positive performance next year to negate the competition in the form of the waiting Esteban Ocon.