Valtteri Bottas admits that until the first few days of 2019, he considered whether to contact Toto Wolff and tell him that he was "done" with Formula 1. As could be seen in Netflix's fantasy documentary "Drive to Survive" - Bottas was thinking about giving up and retiring after the team told him to let Lewis Hamilton pass at the 2018 Russian Grand Prix.
That same season, he had a huge accident in Azerbaijan when his tire burst while he was in the lead three laps before the end. "After that race, I fell to my knees and cried like a little baby." The mentioned 2018 was the only one of four seasons of cooperation with Mercedes in which the Finn failed to win once.
“It started with a few problems, and then things got worse as the end of the year approached. I remember that at the end of the year it was very difficult for me to bear it. " "If things don't work out for you from week to week, if they beat you and if you're also unlucky - I've seen it affect me.
I couldn’t drive at my maximum anymore. You know, it affects your self-confidence and then you run out of pleasure in sports. ” "I managed to make it to the end of the season. I still tried to do my best every weekend, but once the season was over - I was really tired.
Physically, yes, but also mentally. ” "Until a few days in January 2019, I was thinking whether I should call the team and say that this is what concerns me, that I'm done."
But Bottas continued and in 2019 he won the Australian Grand Prix.
That year was the most successful for him so far. “It was like some switch I found. After everything - fu** it all, I won't give up. I saw a broader perspective - if I give up now, I will be sad for the rest of my life.
" Bottas is currently in his fifth season with Mercedes and is in third place in the driver standings, 33 points behind Max Verstappen and 6 points ahead of Lando Norris. It is his statements and the condition he described that say that professional athletes are just ordinary people who have emotions and are affected by many things.
Still, Bottas managed to get out of a somewhat darker period and show that he is still one of the best drivers in F1