Wednesday, 05 december 2018, 09:13 , by Matthew Scott
Valtteri Bottas says a string of "strange races" masked his true performance over a winless 2018 campaign that the Mercedes man insists was not as bad as appears on the surface. Bottas was just the third driver in the 21st Century to go winless across a campaign in a championship-winning car.
Bottas ended 2018 a huge 161 points behind teammate and world champion Lewis Hamilton – a winner of 11 grands prix as Mercedes took a fifth consecutive constructors' crown.
The Finn saw potential wins slip through his fingers in China and Azerbaijan in the early stages of the year – his Baku miss particularly heart-breaking as he suffered a puncture when leading with three laps to go.
And Bottas feels he does not have a deserving set of results to show for his efforts across the season.
Valtteri Bottas (@ValtteriBottas) December 2, 2018
"What I can see and the team can see from the facts in general, it's been better in terms of performance for me this year compared to Lewis on average, both in qualifying and the races, pure performance," Bottas told Motorsport Week.
"But the results have been a lot weaker due to many strange races and so on.
"And obviously also then the points gap became quite big to Lewis and things are slightly different in that way.
"I think it made a big difference. I don't think there was anything mentally at that point.
"There were also a few races that were pretty bad for me, like example in France, Sebastian crashed into me at Turn 1, then at Silverstone I was leading five laps before the end and my tyres ended.
"In Hockenheim when Sebastian crashed I was leading but then on the pit stop I lost a position. There were many things like this."