“You’re replacing a guy who had just won the World Championship”– Valtteri Bottas talks about the pressure he faced after replacing Nico Rosberg.
Valtteri Bottas had big boots to fill in after Mercedes approached to replace Nico Rosberg, who only recently defeated arguably the greatest F1 driver Lewis Hamilton in his peak.
Mercedes’ objective in hiring Bottas was to end the superstar clash in Mercedes, which apparently worked successfully with Bottas coming into the setup.
However, it was a massive move for the Finn race driver, and the pressure from moving from Williams to the best F1 team overwhelmed him.
“I definitely had big shoes to fill,” Bottas told Hypebeast. “You’re replacing a guy who had just won the World Championship, and then he decided to stop.
“I was the next one in line and the team chose me so for sure, in this sport there’s always some form of pressure. “But it was a big jump in my career, and I had to make sure that I could make the most out of the opportunity, to perform and get a new contract for the following year.
“I’ve had to do that pretty much every year, because in this sport you always have to prove yourself. I think as the years go by, you start to learn how to deal with it and luckily for me, it only took a few races into the season to get my first win, which earned the trust of the team.”
It’s tough to be Lewis Hamilton’s teammate.
While Bottas’s future in Mercedes for 2022 is uncertain, he claims that he thoroughly enjoyed his time at the Brackley-based team in the last four years.
George Russell is on Mercedes’ radar for next season!
If they want him, speculation is rife that Valtteri Bottas will find a seat for himself at Williams 👀 pic.twitter.com/uTwjVju2nV
— ClutchPoints Racing (@RacingOnCP) August 17, 2021
“Being Lewis’ team-mate is not easy because he’s pretty fast, both in qualifying and especially in the races,” said Bottas. “It makes me push myself more and always try to dig deeper or try new things because I know I need to give absolutely everything I can if I want to beat him.”
“So in that sense, it’s not easy but it’s also really motivating. It’s also been really enjoyable to be honest. We’ve been able to work really well as a team and if you look back at the last four years, we’ve managed to achieve great things as a team, so it keeps me working hard.”