‘I Was Pretty Angry’: Bottas Reveals He Almost Retired Following Mercedes Team Orders

Valtteri Bottas said he considered “giving up” after the incident in 2018.

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas team orders at 2018 Russian GP - Formula1news.co.uk

Valtteri Bottas has revealed that he thought about retiring from Formula One after the Mercedes F1 Team ordered him to allow Sir Lewis Hamilton through to win the 2018 Russian Grand Prix.

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At that point in the season, Hamilton was in a close battle with Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel for the Drivers’ Title, and the eight extra points he scored from finishing in P1 instead of second at Sochi could have proved vital.

Speaking in an interview featured in series 3 of Netflix’s Drive To Survive (DTS) F1 docuseries, Bottas said the incident left him feeling “angry”.

“Sochi 2018, that was a pretty tough race. Tough to accept. I was pretty angry,” Bottas said.

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“Honestly I was thinking ‘Why do I do this?’. I was thinking of quitting [F1], of giving up.

“Straight after the race, I said I would not do it again.

“If your team-mate wins and you are second, you feel like you lose.

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“I know I’ve been second in the past, but I want to prove I’m not just a number two.”

Continuing, Bottas said he was concerned that Mercedes may unconsciously be biased towards Hamilton at his expense.

“In the team, even though many wouldn’t admit it, maybe unconsciously they have a number one and a number two,” Bottas said.

“Sometimes the team members had to question themselves: ‘Are we giving equal treatment to Lewis and Valtteri?’”

Both Bottas and Hamilton’s existing Mercedes deals only run until the end of 2021, and it has been speculated that this upcoming season will be the Finn’s last campaign with the Silver Arrows.

Earlier this month, Bottas refused to rule out leaving Mercedes at the end of the season in a strategic move to improve his chances of winning a Championship.

“That’s a bit too far from the radar or the timeline I’m thinking about at the moment,” Bottas replied when asked by Formula1News.co.uk during  a press conference if he is considering leaving Mercedes at the end of 2021 to potentially give himself a better chance of winning the Championship by joining a team with a weaker second driver.

“I’m just really thinking about this year and I shouldn’t waste any thought yet on those kinds of things.

“So [I’m] just focused on this year and trying to reach my goal, as I described [earlier in this press conference] and then we’ll see,” the Finn added.

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