Valtteri Bottas, who will join Alfa Romeo for the 2022 Formula 1 season, won five constructor's championships during his time at Mercedes.
Valtteri Bottas spent a total of five Formula 1 seasons at the Mercedes F1 team. Yet it is safe to say that, despite some good showings, he never established himself as a consistent threat to the field.
Of course, having a teammate like Lewis Hamilton – the statistical GOAT of Formula 1 – is never easy. But there is always a feeling that the Finn, who impressed during his stint at Williams, could have done more at Mercedes.
And it is a feeling that Bottas shares. In a recent interview, he detailed the reasons behind why he ‘failed’ at Mercedes – despite winning five constructor’s titles with the team.
“I honestly feel like on my best days, whether it’s a race or qualifying, I’m unbeatable,” Bottas told The Race.
“But unfortunately, I don’t always have the best days. I can’t say I exceeded anything.
“Where I feel like I failed, obviously I didn’t manage to win the drivers’ championship. But it wasn’t simple alongside Lewis. He always got the upper hand.
“It’s a very mental sport and I think a strength of Lewis is the consistency and rarely having any off weekends in terms of performance. If it varies it’s only marginal.”
However, Bottas also cited another factor that didn’t always go his way – luck.
This was especially true in 2021, where Bottas had some poor luck with crashes and accidents. Two instances can be seen at the Emilia Romagna GP and the Hungarian GP.
At Imola, he was taken out after George Russell crashed into him trying to overtake. At the Hungaroring Bottas was the aggressor. He took out a number of cars – including himself – at Turn 1 on the opening lap after braking late.
“But I have to say in the five years, there’ve been moments that I don’t know if I should cry or laugh about my luck. Because I don’t really feel like I’ve been the luckiest driver with many things.
“And the same this year (2021), like the beginning of the season, was pretty much a disaster with crashes and stuff, and then what felt like almost endless engine penalties.
“It just wasn’t quite meant to be so far.”
Nevertheless, his time at F1 is set to roll on for at least a few more seasons. He joined Alfa Romeo on a multi-year deal for the upcoming season.
His partner at the Swiss-Italian team will be Guanyou Zhou, the first Chinese driver to race in F1.