F1 news: Mercedes boss reveals Valtteri Bottas disappointment despite Lewis Hamilton title

F1 news: Mercedes boss reveals Valtteri Bottas disappointment despite Lewis Hamilton title
Bottass F1 engineer switching to Mercedes Formula E programme
Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff says he is worried a disappointing 2018 campaign has taken its toll on Valtteri Bottas.

Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff says he is worried a frustrating 2018 campaign has taken its toll on Valtteri Bottas.

Bottas, who was forced to play a supporting role to teammate Lewis Hamiltons championship bid after falling out of title contention himself following a difficult start to the year, finished a distant fifth place for the fourth successive race in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Plummeting from second to fifth in the Abu Dhabi GP without putting up much of a struggle, Toto Wolff fears Valtteri Bottas’s 2018 season has left him mentally damaged.

The Finn ultimately slipped to fifth in the drivers standings and became the first Mercedes driver since Michael Schumacher in 2012 to fail to win a race during a season, while Hamilton registered his 11th victory of the campaign at Yas Marina.

After a long conservation I believe that when you have no shot anymore of the championship, and you know you need to give up, it kind of damages you mentally.

I think he would have won the race there without the puncture and he would have been in the lead of the championship.

That coupled with team orders taking away the Russian Grand Prix win and handing it to Lewis Hamilton seem to have broken Bottas’ spirit.

After a long conservation I believe that when you have no shot anymore of the championship, and you know you need to give up, it kind of damages you mentally.

I hope its not the case. He says not, hes a strong Finn and a warrior but now over the winter we have to pick him up again and get him back to a good place.Bottas was forced into a two-stop strategy in Abu Dhabi after slipping behind Sebastian Vettel and Max Verstappen, having suffered a sudden drop-off in performance.

Wolff revealed Mercedes disovered an issue on the rear right brakes of Bottas W09, which he says instigated the second stop.

I think he would have won the race there without the puncture and he would have been in the lead of the championship.

On the pitstop something went wrong and when he went out we saw something was not right on the rear right brake, something was not perfect, Wolff explained.

Bottas ended the campaign without a single win on the board while Hamilton, who won the World title, bagged 11.

We have data and it was a safety issue which is why we did the pit stop, so we dont know whether there was a serious concern on the car that made the performance drop, or whether its just gone.

Hamiltons forward march over the summer and Bottas relative under-performance stalled the Silver Arrows driver and his championship hopes, a state of affairs that eventually confined him to a support role for the benefit of the Brit.

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“We have data and it was a safety issue which is why we did the pit stop, so we dont know whether there was a serious concern on the car that made the performance drop, or whether its just gone.”

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The Finn held his own against team mate Lewis Hamilton in the early part of the season, although wretched luck – notably in Baku – kept him off the top step of the podium.

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“It was feeling good, the pace was good, but started to have some lock ups and losing ground after that. I touched with Max [Verstappen] and had a slow puncture I think.”

Valtteri Bottas's Formula 1 race engineer Tony Ross will switch to Mercedes' ABB FIA Formula E programme now that the 2018 season has concluded…

“I hope its not the case. He says not, hes a strong Finn and a warrior but now over the winter we have to pick him up again and get him back to a good place.”

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“On the pitstop something went wrong and when he went out we saw something was not right on the rear right brake, something was not perfect,” Wolff explained.

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff believes Valtteri Bottas will need to be mentally revived over the winter after a challenging 2018 campaign.

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“I think he would have won the race there without the puncture and he would have been in the lead of the championship.

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“The last few laps, it felt so long, I wanted to finish the season. Im glad its over,” he said.

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