VALTTERI BOTTAS struggled to beat Lewis Hamilton when he was paired with the champion at Mercedes.
Mercedes: What’s gone wrong at the F1 and can they recover?
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Valtteri Bottas has said he “doesn’t care” what people think after he was criticised for failing to push Lewis Hamilton. After failing to come close to Hamilton’s title bid last season, The Finn was replaced by ex-Williams star George Russell.
But, Bottas appeared to enjoy a new lease of life at Alfa Romeo as he became one of the standout performers early on. Bottas scored points in all but one of the first seven races, including a P5 at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
The former Mercedes driver admits he had benefited from the change of scenery after struggling at the Silver Arrows. He told Crash.net: “I think it was needed for me. I definitely needed something new, a new environment, new targets, new people around me.
“When I started F1, of course, everything was super exciting and you feel like you want to do this forever. Then for sure, in terms of the love for the sport, at some point, I had a bit of a dip.
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Valtteri Bottas has opened up on his fight with Lewis Hamilton (Image: Getty)
“But now I feel like it’s definitely back. If you asked me today, how long would I want to drive? I’d say forever. I’m really, really enjoying it.” When asked if he cares less about criticism of his driving, Bottas agrees his mindset has changed.
He added: “I think that’s fair to say, yes. I really don’t care nowadays what people think of me and I just want to try and make the most out of my life and have fun.”
Bottas came just 58 points from beating Hamilton in his debut year at Mercedes back in 2017.
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Valtteri Bottas has starred since joining Alfa Romeo (Image: Getty)
He finished runner-up in the championship for the first time in 20109, something he achieved again a year later. However, he has previously admitted that he struggled at the German manufacturer after only being handed one-year deals.
He admitted: “If you feel like you have a knife to your throat, your head isn’t doing very well.” Ahead of the new season, Bottas also revealed he would have turned down Mercedes if he was not offered at least a two-year contract.
Hamilton praised Bottas’ role when he left the team at the end of last season. The seven-time champion stressed Bottas was the best team-mate he had ever worked with when his move to Alfa Romeo was confirmed.