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Bottas admits being in denial as Hamilton's Mercedes F1 team-mate

Bottas admits being in denial as Hamilton's Mercedes F1 team-mate

Bottas admits being in denial as Hamilton's Mercedes F1 team-mate

Bottas admits being in denial as Hamilton's Mercedes F1 team-mate

Valtteri Bottas has admitted that he was 'in denial' during his time alongside seven-time world champion Nico Rosberg at Mercedes.

Following Nico Rosberg's surprising retirement as the reigning F1 world champion, Valtteri Bottas left Williams for Mercedes in 2017, becoming Lewis Hamilton's team-mate until his shift to Sauber in 2022.

During their partnership, Hamilton secured 50 grands prix victories and four drivers' titles, while Bottas claimed 10 wins himself.

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were team-mates for five years
Lewis Hamilton almost always had the edge over Valtteri Bottas during their time at Mercedes

Bottas: It's hard to admit

Looking back, Bottas acknowledges that, to stay competitive against Hamilton, he often found himself in a state of denial.

“You have to be in denial," he told Autosport. "I was in denial for almost five years because every year, I wanted to get back to the season and then fight for the title and I had to believe in myself.”

Bottas revealed that he only truly came to terms with losing the head-to-head battle during his final season with Mercedes in 2021.

This realisation came as the team decided to promote junior driver George Russell from Williams, solidifying the shift in dynamics within the team.

Valtteri Bottas admits Lewis Hamilton is a 'better' racing driver in some aspects

“It was only when I knew that I was leaving the team then that I noticed that I was a bit more fine with certain things. 

“I was allowing [myself] to accept some of those kind of things. So, for sure, in your career, you go through those kind of things.

“With Lewis, only in the last year could I accept to myself that in equal machinery over a period of a full season, I really struggled to beat him and that he's probably better in certain areas. As a racing driver, to admit that to yourself, is hard.”

READ MORE: Bottas: Hamilton partnership was 'exhausting'

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