Valtteri Bottas, the 32-year Finnish F1 driver who currently races for Alpha Romeo, said in an interview with Motorsport released late on Wednesday that he had almost walked away from F1 at the end of 2018. Before Alpha Romeo, Bottas raced for Mercedes between 2017 and 2021 and Williams between 2013 and 2016.
Nonetheless, back in the 2018s, Bottas has been severely struggling to match the performance of teammate Lewis Hamilton, and the failure had led him to a “dark spot”. As Hamilton was wrestling alone against Vettel and Ferrari, often Bottas found him in a supportive role in Mercedes.
Bottas says he almost walked away from F1 after 2018 failure
Aside from that, speaking in an interview with Motorsport Magazine’s podcast “My Big Break,” Bottas did not hesitate to acknowledge that he was on the brink of collapse and it could have been the end of his F1 career.
Bottas said to Motorsport, “At the end of 2018 I almost stopped. It was so close. Just because of the fact I couldn't understand and take in the fact I couldn't beat Lewis in those two years. I put so much pressure on myself.
Towards the end of '18, especially when I started to have the support role, I really couldn't take it, I really struggled. It was not fun. The human mind is strange in a way, sometimes you go into dark places and you lose the joy on things.
I lost the joy of F1 and racing in F1. I was almost angry to F1, it's weird. I just needed some time off. Think things in a big picture and realised it's a pretty cool sport and I still have great opportunities ahead of me”.
Bottas added he decided to stay in Mercedes and F1 while walking in a Finnish forest back in the January of 2019. Nevertheless, the decision was justified as 2019 is still being contemplated as Bottas’ best time in Mercedes.
Meanwhile, addressing what he had learnt from the failure, Bottas concluded, “Now when I look back at it was a great school for me, I learned a lot about myself, to give myself more of a leash, not to be too hard on myself.
But learned so much about everything that I'm really glad it happened. Those kind of moments, I just want to tell people to always look at the big picture in life. If you feel a bit anxious in life, take a step back, there's always so much more to get if you don't give up”.