Valtteri Bottas has admitted that he often found himself in a “tricky situation” during his five-year spell racing for Mercedes, as he was always only ever on a one-year contract.
Several drivers in Formula 1 have expressed how they prefer to have a two-year deal rather than a contract for just one campaign, as it allows them to relax and focus on racing.
Bottas found only being given one-year deals for each of his five seasons with the Silver Arrows complicated, but he ultimately has “no regrets” about his time racing for the Germans.
The Finnish driver moved to Mercedes from Williams in 2017, replacing Nico Rosberg who decided to retire after winning the 2016 Drivers’ Championship.
Bottas’ opening years with Mercedes were arguably his strongest, as his pace towards the end of his time with the Silver Arrows was often quite a bit slower than Lewis Hamilton’s.
Hamilton won the championship in four of the five seasons he had Bottas alongside him and picked up 50 wins along the way, whereas the Sauber driver finished on the top step of the podium on just 10 occasions.
Many insisted that the Finn just simply wasn’t quick enough to compete with the seven-time World Champion, criticism Bottas simply just had to deal with.
He insists that his target every year was to try and win the title and that he didn’t need somebody at Mercedes constantly telling him that he has the potential to beat Hamilton.
Bottas has stressed that everything was very “open” at the Brackley-based team and that he knew if he was an a***hole” to them he’d simply get replaced.
“No, it was quite open meetings,” Bottas told Autosport.
“Everything is based on facts and what they can see through the data on those things. You could see the average difference in qualifying or race pace. Nothing was avoided.
“I have no regrets because it was a tricky situation for me because I was every year on a one-year contract.
“I knew that if I wanted to fight for the title, I needed to be buried in this team. If I started to be an a***hole, I would lose my job pretty easily. They could always get someone else.”