Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas has revealed that he considered retirement from F1 after the Silver Arrows instructed him to allow Lewis Hamilton through to win the 2018 Russian Grand Prix.
The eight extra points Hamilton made as a result of winning this race were pivotal in his race with Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel for the drivers’ championship.
On the Netflix docuseries Drive to Survive, Bottas said he felt very angry when this happened.
“Sochi 2018, that was a pretty tough race. Tough to accept. I was pretty angry,” Bottas said.
“Honestly, I was thinking ‘Why do I do this?’. I was thinking of quitting [F1], of giving up.
“Straight after the race, I said I would not do it again. If your team-mate wins and you are second, you feel like you lose.
“I know I’ve been second in the past, but I want to prove I’m not just a number two.”
Bottas further added that he believes Mercedes may have a subconscious bias towards Hamilton.
“In the team, even though many wouldn’t admit it, maybe unconsciously they have a number one and a number two,” Bottas said.
“Sometimes the team members had to question themselves: ‘Are we giving equal treatment to Lewis and Valtteri?’”
With both Hamilton and Bottas only having a deal with Mercedes till the end of the upcoming season, their future is very much in the air.
It is largely speculated that Bottas will be shown the door, with Hamilton’s future more to do with the British driver’s personal plans.
Bottas recently spoke about how he may have to leave Mercedes to have a realistic chance of winning an F1 championship.
“That’s a bit too far from the radar or the timeline I’m thinking about at the moment,” Bottas said.
“I’m just really thinking about this year and I shouldn’t waste any thought yet on those kinds of things.
“So [I’m] just focused on this year and trying to reach my goal, as I described [earlier in this press conference] and then we’ll see.”