Valtteri Bottas insists he performed better in 2018 than he did last year, despite not winning a race for Mercedes this season.
Lewis Hamilton secured a fifth drivers’ championship in Mexico, while Bottas ended up finishing fifth in the standings behind Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Max Verstappen. Bottas finished second in three of the first five races but never stood on the top step, and despite winning three races last year, the Finn says his performances were better in 2018.
“I think there’s been quite a few good races, but things just haven’t gone my way,” Bottas said. “I would say that, in general, I’ve been unlucky this year, but there’s more than that. I know for a fact that I’ve performed better compared to last year, that’s the only thing that matters after a season like this.
“From a season like this, you just have to learn and try to forget, but this is definitively a season that will make me a tougher person and driver for the future.”
While he has confidence in a number of his own performances, Bottas ended the year 161 points adrift of teammate Hamilton compared to 58 points last season, and says the final results and bad luck he endured – such as retiring from the lead in Baku – made 2018 the worst season of his F1 career.
“For sure the first season was tough, but you cannot compare because with Williams, in 2013, we were fighting at the back. But I felt that I did the most that I could do,” Bottas said. “Then the few seasons afterwards were definitely better than this one.
“Then, last year was quite different from this year: it was my first year with the team, the first year alongside Lewis, and I remember this time last year I was disappointed that I hadn’t met my targets. But now, when I look back, at least I had won some races, got some poles. Now… I’m even more disappointed, for sure. Yes, this has been my worst season.”