Mercedes fear Bottas 'damaged' after poor 2018

Monday, 26 november 2018, 06:55 , by Matthew Scott

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff fears Valtteri Bottas will be "mentally damaged" by his winless campaign that ended in yet another below-par outing at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Summing up his race and year, Bottas said that both had "turned to shit" after promising starts.

Likely victories slipped through Bottas' fingers in China and Azerbaijan in the early stages of the year – an untimely safety car and last-gasp puncture to blame.

But the Finn could not maintain his form and a third chance to win in 2018 was taken away when Mercedes ordered him to let Lewis Hamilton through for victory in Russia to aid the Brit's pursuit of a fifth world title.

Bottas is just the third driver in the 21st Century to go winless across a season in a championship-winning car, but he will remain with the Silver Arrows in 2019 – albeit likely with Esteban Ocon breathing down his neck.

"He was really good until Baku," Wolff told Channel 4.

"I think he would have won the race there without the puncture and he would have been in the lead of the championship.

"After a long conservation I believe that when you have no shot anymore of the championship, and you know you need to give up, it kind of damages you mentally.

"I hope it's not the case.

"He says not, he's a strong Finn and a warrior but now over the winter we have to pick him up again and get him back to a good place."

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Comments (50)

  • Matt Boutell
    He averaged 5th in most races. He was brought in by Merc to be a second driver, not their number 1 driver! Also, how many top 5+ places would he have if he was still at Williams? He should be greatful that he has driving in a world championship winning car. He's proved he not championship material tho.
  • Hank Siarczynski
    What do they expect when Hamilton was always the No. 1 driver and Bottas relegated to "wing man" duty? And when he could have (should have) won a couple of races, it was due on no part of his own making.
  • Tyler Saulay
    He had wins taken away. At the same time he is no match for Lewis. Which is disappointing. Merc is happy enough with him. Fast enough to get the points needed, not fast enough to pressure Lewis.
  • Hans Vanmulukom
    Can't help but feel for the guy, he did everything expected of him and nothing to show for it except a fifth place in the drivers championship, the thankless life of a wingman
  • Dennis Iyo
    agree with fan comments but he really seems like a broken driver ever since he had to give up his win. idk unless he is able to get his head back and in the hunt, his career may be over.
  • Dennis Iyo
    Bottas lost the will to battle and race bc he knows his role is to help lewis win driver championships. he is a dead duck and knows it. a broken driver.
  • Ian Bell
    Will toto Wolff acting as driver manager gain a financial reward if ocon was to find a racing seat? Personally Ocon would be wasting his talent as a wingman.
  • Chris Charlton
    Let's be honest here Toto, he is the number two driver. Having two potential winners like with Nico, didn't work well for Hamilton or his pre-eminent needs.
  • Gordon Assur
    Granted he should have had that one win, but he just hasn’t had the pace all season to be a genuine contender. He needs to find a bit more!
  • Rick Wilson
    Oh please! They just don’t like Botas. He’s done everything that they’ve asked of him. They simply don’t like line his stoic style.
  • Bryan Falcon
    Well, Mercedes themselves are the ones who damaged him no? I mean, team orders and branding him “an excellent wingman”?
  • James Wolford
    He wasn’t suppose to win, they won the constructor points by a big margin, just politics to get Ocon in the seat after him.
  • Karl Davy
    no offense but a wingman is all he is .... if he wasnt why are they posistioning ocon for a drive in 2020 (WOLFS OWN WORDS)
  • Greg Tanner
    He would of if he wasnt the wingmanlooks like Mercedes are preparing to get rid of him and sign Crashstappen
  • Christine Muise
    What an Ass Toto is...he knew full well why Bottas had a shitty season. orders, no fault of Bottas. ..
  • Hassaan Ahmed
    I mean he should start calling himself a waiter.....he obliged to all orders without any hesitation.
  • Omer Farooque
    Get in there Lewis!!! too bad Bottas had too big a head to go where ever Lewis was going
  • Anjistho Basu
    Merc: "Valtteri this is James." Bottas: *gets sad* Merc: (Surprised Pikachu)
  • Chris Harris
    He should be replaced. He is not a championship contender but has the car to be one.
  • Matt Sutherland
    Well he’ll have earned plenty of money; I suggest a year long bender around the World.

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