Valtteri Bottas 'almost retired after Hamilton team orders'


Valtteri Bottas has admitted he considered retirement after being ordered to hand his first place to Lewis Hamilton at 2018 Russian GP, and feels there might almost be unconscious bias within Mercedes

SOCHI, RUSSIA SEPTEMBER 30, 2018: Mercedes AMG Petronas drivers Valtteri Bottas (L) of Finland, second-placed, and Lewis Hamilton (L-R) of the United Kingdom, first-placed, attend the 2018 Formula One Russian Grand Prix awarding ceremony at the Sochi Autodrom racing circuit. Yegor Aleyev/TASS (Photo by Yegor Aleyev\TASS via Getty Images)

Bottas has admitted he thought of retiring after being ordered to give the win to Hamilton at Sochi '18

Yegor AleyevTASS via Getty Images)

Valtteri Bottas has admitted he thought of “quitting, of giving up” after being instructed by Mercedes to cede victory to team-mate Lewis Hamilton at the 2018 Russian Grand Prix.

Bottas was told to hand the place over to Hamilton to give him a further points advantage in his championship battle with Sebastian Vettel.

Speaking in an interview featured on the new Netflix Drive to Survive series, Bottas says that he fears he is sometimes treated “unconsciously” as a No2 driver by Mercedes. He revealed that the instructions he was dealt at Sochi and the resulting emotions became almost too much to bear.

“Sochi 2018, that was a pretty tough race,” he says. “Tough to accept. I was pretty angry.

“Honestly I was thinking ‘Why do I do this?’. I was thinking of quitting [F1], of giving up.”

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Bottas made a vow to himself never to relent to team orders again though.

“Straight after the race, I said I would not do it again.”

The Mercedes driver has admitted to the despondency he’s felt from finishing runner-up more often than not.

“If your team-mate wins and you are second, you feel like you lose,” the Finn said.

“I know I’ve been second in the past, but I want to prove I’m not just a No2.”

Bottas also fears there may be unintentional bias within the team.

“In the team, even though many wouldn’t admit it, maybe unconsciously they have a No1 and a No2,” he said.

“Sometimes the team members had to question themselves: ‘Are we giving equal treatment to Lewis and Valtteri?'”

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DtS provides a fascinating insight into the mind of the drivers, as Hamilton also had his say on what he thinks his team-mate must feel after regularly being beaten and/or being ordered to give positions to his team-mate.

“I’d never have thought I have won the titles I have.” the seven-time world champion says. “It’s hard to grasp what I’ve done but it’s, for sure, hard for Valtteri.

“He wants to be the world champion.”

The series covers Bottas getting some short-term revenge on Hamilton, as he first gives Max Verstappen a tow during the 2020 Russian Grand Prix qualifying before Hamilton then gets a penalty in the race, handing the win to the Finn.