Enjoying his best season for Mercedes F1, Valtteri Bottas said the 2019 season made him fall in love with Formula One once again. With four race wins and 15 podiums, he finished second in the drivers’ championship. For the fourth time in six years, Mercedes drivers took first and second in the championship.
However, Bottas admitted that he had lost some love for the sport during a trying 2018 season. He found it again during the course of the 2019 season.
A disastrous 2018 season nearly derailed his career.
Bottas’ second season with Mercedes was far from ideal. He struggled throughout the season. Ultimately, he was unable to win a single race and finished 5th in the driver’s championship. He capped off the season by finishing fifth in each of the last four races.
Bottas also set the unfortunate record for the most second-place finishes in a season without a win with seven. For the first time since Michael Schumacher in 2012, a Mercedes driver did not win a race.
A lacklustre end to the season meant his future with Mercedes was up in the air. 1997 World Champion, Jacques Villeneuve believed that Mercedes junior driver Esteban Ocon would replace Bottas during the 2019 season.
In the end, Mercedes kept their trust with Bottas. Ocon was assigned as a reserve driver for the team in 2019.
Valtteri Bottas 2.0: Resurgence in 2019
Valtteri Bottas started the 2019 season as a new man. He split the first four races with teammate and eventual world champion, Lewis Hamilton. His stunning performances merited the notion of mounting a serious title challenge.
Despite some mid-season hiccups, he was more consistent in his racing and on-track aggression. It meant he held a strong grip on second place in the drivers standing throughout the season. The 326 points he accumulated represents the best point tally in his career.
Crucially, he ended the season strongly. Two wins in the final five races proved that he can generally remain competitive throughout the season. With Mercedes wanting to win an unprecedented 7th consecutive Constructors title, they need highly capable drivers.
Valtteri proved that. Mercedes signed him for the 2020 season. It will be his fourth season for the team.
When asked about his 2018 season compared to 2019, Bottas admitted that a slow end to the 2019 season would have cost him his drive at Mercedes.
“If I’d had a similar season to 2018, I don’t [think] the team would have continued with me.”
“I’ve had much more fun between the races now, and kind of fell in love with the sport, which I maybe lost a little bit towards the end of last year.”
Bottas said he enjoyed himself more between races. A new race engineer, a refreshed mindset have all contributed to his track success this year. He also said his end to the season will make the transition into the 2020 season, a more pleasant experience than what he endured a year ago.
Now, once again in love with the sport, Bottas can focus is his attention on the 2020 season. If he continues to show the same resilience, he could be in the hunting for a maiden world championship.
Sports is such an amazing passion. A content writer of NBA