Valtteri Bottas reveals he almost took retirement from Formula 1 after succumbing to the title challenge by Lewis Hamilton in 2018.
Mercedes from 2017 to 2021 had a stable partnership with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas. The duo brought in the constructors’ championship every season they appeared together for the Silver Arrows.
However, in all these seasons, Hamilton was the main man for Mercedes and took away all the drivers’ titles. On the other hand, Valtteri Bottas being in the fastest f1 cars had his own aspirations.
He surely aimed for the championship every year. But it’s not easy to battle against the seven-time world champion. His history with his all teammates is a testament to that.
In 2018, Bottas was in his sophomore year at Mercedes and was extremely motivated to win the title. Yet, he lost to his teammate, and that almost forced Bottas to retire from F1 as he went into a dark place.
“At the end of 2018 I almost stopped. It was so close,” Bottas told Motorsport Magazine’s “My Big Break” podcast. “Just because of the fact I couldn’t understand and take in the fact I couldn’t beat Lewis in those two years.”
“I put so much pressure on myself. Towards the end of ’18, especially when I started to have the support role, I really couldn’t take it, I really struggled. It was not fun.”
Valtteri Bottas lost all fun in F1
Bottas revealed that after the 2018 season he hit the rock bottom. So extreme that instead of thinking of leaving Mercedes, he thought of quitting F1 altogether. He admits that he found no fun in F1 for a while after that.
“The human mind is strange in a way, sometimes you go into dark places and you lose the joy in things. I lost the joy of F1 and racing in F1,” said Bottas.
“I was almost angry to F1, it’s weird. I just needed some time off. Think things in a big picture and realised it’s a pretty cool sport and I still have great opportunities ahead of me.”
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However, Bottas decided to stay after “a click” happened while walking in a Finnish forest in January 2019. In the next season, he made an impactful comeback to F1, he won the first race of the season in Melbourne. And in the end, it was his most successful year with Mercedes.