Friday, 07 december 2018, 07:24 , by Matthew Scott
Former F1 driver Mika Salo says his fellow Finn Valtteri Bottas' largely miserable 2018 campaign hinged on the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, where victory and the lead of the drivers' championship were snatched out of his hands by an agonising late puncture.
Although Bottas contributed to Mercedes' fifth constructors' championship, he failed to win a single race – becoming just the third driver to do so across a season in a title-winning car in the 21st Century.
Bottas' early season form was more impressive and likely victories in Shanghai and Baku were taken away by factors outside of his control.
Azerbaijan was particularly galling as a run through debris three laps from the end cost him and Salo believes he failed to recover, leading to a campaign that Bottas said "turned to shit".
"I think it's OK to say it out loud," Salo told MTV of Bottas' castigating of his own performances in 2018.
"At least he has identified what were the weak points for him and will work in the winter so that they are not there next year.
"Valtteri has no choice but to reset completely and start again next year.
"Pretty much everything went wrong this year. Baku was really bad. If not for what happened he would have led the championship and who knows how the season would have gone after that.
"There were so many little things that were just bad luck, not anything that Valtteri did badly. But they surely affected him on the mental side pretty badly."