Bottas ‘proud but sad’ to leave Mercedes after being part of F1’s most successful team mate pairing with Hamilton
Valtteri Bottas finished his final race for Mercedes in P6 as he prepares to campaign in the new era of F1 with Alfa Romeo from 2022 – and the Finn said he was feeling a mix of emotions after a historic title fight in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Bottas and his Mercedes team mate of five years and 100 Grands Prix Lewis Hamilton have won five constructors’ championships – Hamilton having taken four drivers’ titles in that time. They’re the second-most prolific pairing in F1 history behind Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher (104 Grands Prix with Ferrari) and have taken 60 wins together – the most of any team mates in history.
Furthermore, no other intra-team duo has shared the podium more than they have, a record 53 times.
Asked how he felt at the end of the Abu Dhabi GP, Bottas said: “Now it’s time for something new. I’m really, really proud and thankful what we’ve achieved together. We’ve done great things.
“It wasn’t maybe the best race to finish it, but you need to look at the big picture. You know, we’ve won five constructors’. With Lewis we’ve been the most successful team mate pairing in the history of Formula 1, so it’s kind of sad to leave – but of course I look forward to the future,” he added.
While the 32-year-old celebrated his final race with Mercedes by jumping in the marina (below), Bottas remarked that he was “gutted” that team mate Hamilton didn’t win an eighth World Championship as Max Verstappen passed him for the lead on the very last lap of the Abu Dhabi GP.
“Of course, we wanted to get both titles, and getting the constructors’ again is huge, but at the same time it hurts that Lewis didn’t get the drivers’ because even for me, I feel like I lost the championship because he lost it.
“I really feel gutted for him because I feel like he deserved it... He had a great start, great race, and then things change like this. But you know, that’s just sport, that’s just how it is. Sometimes it goes against, sometimes it goes for you – but today was not our day,” he concluded.
The Finn will pair Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou at Alfa Romeo next year, the rookie to sport #24 in F1's new season.