After a long and successful stint with the Mercedes team, Valtteri Bottas switched to Alfa Romeo ahead of the 2022 season. In his 5 years with the Brackley-based outfit, Bottas won 10 races and secured 58 podium finishes. However, these performances did not help in mounting a serious title challenge against formidable teammate Hamilton.
The 7-time champion’s previous teammate was Nico Rosberg, and they were together at Mercedes from 2013 to 2016. Hamilton and Rosberg had a long-standing relationship from their Karting days, but it faded away with time when the two started competing for championships together. After many years of intense battles, Rosberg achieved his lifetime goal of an F1 championship in 2016.
In the press conference after the 2016 Abu Dhabi GP, Hamilton mentioned he was looking forward to the next championship battle alongside Nico. However, days later it came as a surprise to many, including the Mercedes team, that Rosberg decided to bow out of his seat. Bottas was called in to replace Rosberg in the team. Toto Wolff was adamant about not letting another rivalry like that happen again in the team.
Formula One F1 – Mexico Grand Prix – Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Mexico City, Mexico – November 6, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas celebrates pole position with Lewis Hamilton Pool via REUTERS/Francisco Guasco
Being a teammate to Lewis Hamilton is not easy: Valtteri Bottas
After years of being Hamilton’s teammate, Bottas has a clearer picture of what Rosberg must have thought before leaving F1. Even after some tremendous weekends behind him, many saw Bottas as a wingman to Lewis Hamilton. In a recent interview reported by Marçà, the Finn said that he wondered why Rosberg suddenly stopped. However, he understands it now after being in his place for 5 years.
“I remember Lewis and Nico fighting very hard with each other and it even became a bit political,” said Bottas.
“But when I arrived at Mercedes, I wondered why Nico suddenly stopped. But now I can identify with him. I can say from experience that it’s not easy. If you feel like there is a knife in your throat, then the mind doesn’t always work correctly,” he added.
The Finn is now starting a new chapter in 2022 with the Alfa Romeo F1 team. Now that he has left the shadow of Hamilton and is the main man in his new team, there is a fair chance that he will function with more autonomy than ever. The 2022 season comes with a lot of unpredictability. Where do you think Bottas will finish next season?