LONDON (Reuters) – Mercedes Formula One boss Toto Wolff joked at Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that he would be booking himself into rehab after a rollercoaster season that ended with his team winning both titles for the fifth year in a row.
If he did, the Austrian might find one of his drivers there already.
Valtteri - Bottas - Year - Beat - Team
Valtteri Bottas started the year determined to fight, and beat, team mate Lewis Hamilton to the title but the Finnish driver ended it mentally drained and further away than ever from his goal.
“He said to me he just wants to disappear back home, recharge the battery, forget, recover and recuperate and then come back next year,” Wolff told reporters. “I can understand the frustration.”
Mercedes - Bottas - Team - Player - Driver
Mercedes have hailed Bottas as a team player, a driver who does not play politics, and Hamilton has said they could be Formula One’s best pairing ever. The statistics are less complimentary, however.
Bottas, who was testing again in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday, was alone among the top three teams’ drivers in failing to win a race in 2018, the first winless in a Mercedes since Michael Schumacher in his final 2012 season.
V6 - Turbo - Era - Mercedes - Drivers
Since the V6 turbo hybrid era began in 2014 Mercedes have always had both drivers finish the season in the top three — until Bottas.
The Finn ended up fifth overall, a slide from third last year, and dismissed by some as no more than a useful wingman for Hamilton — even if he did take the award for most fastest laps.
Year - Break - Bottas - Guarantee - Seat
“It’s been a mentally pretty tough year so I need a break,” Bottas, who has no guarantee of staying in his coveted seat beyond next year, said on Sunday.
Some of it is down to bad luck, Hamilton’s genius and the rise of Ferrari and Red Bull as challengers in the toughest season...
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