Valtteri Bottas limped to P5 at the Malaysian GP, behind P20 starter Sebastian Vettel, on a track suited for Mercedes. Clearly something wrong went down this weekend and Bottas confirmed, he was running low on confidence.
“It was definitely not the race weekend we were expecting coming here,” Bottas observed.
“Because we really could have been strong here but since Friday we have been struggling. Today was the same, just lacking pace. I think as a team we have been struggling to get the car good enough for these conditions and then I think it’s a different story on my side for why I’ve been lacking pace. I think there’s various reasons which we need to find out. I’m definitely not at the best at the moment, or at my most confident state.”
We know the Finn was running low on confidence, at least for the Malaysian GP. But should he be feeling this way?
Out of 15 races so far, he has 2 grand prix wins, 10 podiums and 1 DNF. He has never finished lower than P6 and is running 3rd in the drivers’ championship. By any standards, these numbers tell us that he has the pace, the stamina and the confidence to challenge the best in Formula 1.
Valtteri Bottas has more than once been competitive while challenging for pole in qualifying. The feat is even more astonishing because the present car was not tailor-made for him. The car had been built in accordance with Nico’s driving style. Nico’s last minute retirement, definitely gave Bottas a lot to work on.
If anything, his 2018 car will be more suited to his driving style as he will have spent more time with the team to develop it according to what is best for himself. So it is too early to Judge the fin on one race where he lacked the confidence to push harder. One can confidently say that he might not be in form for one weekend, Bottas does have a class that he can definitely uphold.