Bottas left drained: ‘Difficult to take many positives from 2018’

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas finished P5 at Yas Marina, and says that he’s looking forward to taking some time out from F1 after a tough year on track.

Bottas had looked nailed on for a podium finish in the final race of the year, held at Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi, but the complexion of his race changed dramatically when a brake issue set in. Making a small error into the first chicane, Sebastian Vettel was able to pounce on the Mercedes man to pass him and claim P2, while Max Verstappen compounded Bottas’ misery by overtaking him shortly after the Finn locked up under braking into the chicane separating the two long straights.

“I think overall the race sums up the season quite well – started off quite well and then everything turns to shit. I had initially a lock up into Turn 5, when Sebastian got close, and then he got DRS and overtook me.”

“I initially thought it was purely my mistake – which in the end it was – but the wind suddenly turned around.”

“At the same time, the team found on the rear right brake some vibration and some issue, so the front brakes had to work harder than the rear brakes to compensate and that meant there were sudden lock-ups.”

“Same thing happened when I went straight and Verstappen got close. So, we still need to investigate what was exactly the issue with the brakes.”

“And when I touched with Max there was quite a big floor damage, we saw in the car, which made the end of the race tricky.”

Having initially looked set to claim P3 in the title chase as a result of Kimi Raikkonen’s retirement on Lap 8, Bottas was forced to settle for P4. His campaign is also the first time in the hybrid era that a Mercedes driver has failed to win a race.

“Well it’s quite difficult, so quickly after the season is finished, to reflect on such a tough season.”

“It just feels like I would need a few days off to then maybe speak more, but I think the fact is, as a team, what we’ve analysed, Qualifying pace and race pace, compared to my team-mate has been better this year on average. Which is positive, but the results haven’t. So, all those things, we need to analyse why the results weren’t there.”

“Obviously sometimes it was bad luck, and there were different reasons. But… yeah, I think performance-wise this year was better, but results-wise last year was better.”

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Thomas Maher

Co-owner, Chief Editor and a journalist for - Ireland's only accredited F1 & Formula E website.

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