Valtteri Bottas has revealed he has left Mercedes with “mixed feelings” after failing to achieve the sole target he set when he joined the team of winning a world title.
Bottas joined Mercedes from Williams in 2017 as a hasty replacement for the retiring Nico Rosberg, who quit suddenly after beating Lewis Hamilton to the 2016 world title in a season-long battle.
The Finn hoped he could follow up Rosberg’s performance by beating Hamilton again but quickly discovered that the British driver was increasingly hard to beat after that tough title loss.
Bottas will move to Alfa Romeo next season and, when asked how he reflected on his years at Mercedes, he conceded to having “mixed feelings".
"Obviously, when I joined the team in 2017 the only thing in my mind was to win the drivers’ championship," said Bottas.
“That didn’t happen, but I need to look at the positives. I have grown so much as a driver and as a human being. I’ve learned so much with the team and we have actually achieved pretty cool things together.
“That’s also many many positives that I will take on board. I think in this sport you are never fully satisfied, you know, but I think, five years, I have achieved something and I am sure that will help me in the future.”
Being a team player has been crucial – Bottas
Despite his disappointment at never lifting the crown, Bottas won 10 races and secured 20 pole positions during his time driving for Mercedes.
He also achieved 48 further podiums, 27 of which were for second place, and his role in support of Lewis Hamilton this season was crucial to the team claiming a record-breaking eighth consecutive constructors' crown.
“It’s definitely a team sport and we always need to work together for that goal that we set at the beginning of the year," explained Bottas. "Together you are so much stronger than alone.
“You get support from your team-mates and you also support your team-mates. It’s just how it goes. And if every team member gives even one per cent more effort and it’s 100 people, that’s another 100 per cent, so it makes a difference.”