Even at Sochi the Finn has impressed so far and topped the practice sessions of the weekend.
Outgoing Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas has revealed that he felt in the first half of the 2021 season he was somewhat not allowed to challenge for the world title while his teammate took the lead of the championship in the first half of the year. “At least earlier in the season, I felt like I wasn’t allowed anymore for the contention, but you never know. We go race by race. I think in Formula 1 you just never know how the season will progress. There is still a fair amount of races, so never say never,” the Finnish driver revealed. Bottas will be leaving the Mercedes F1 team at the end of the year closing a five-year stint with the team where he finished as runner up twice behind Lewis Hamilton. He is joining the Alfa Romeo team as their lead driver in 2022, something that was orchestrated by Toto Wolff the Mercedes team boss who also manages the Finn.
“For me personally, coming here is different, so the only thing that’s in my mind is winning. That’s the only thing that matters to me and at least that is my approach for this week,” he added, hinting that he may not be as cooperative towards Hamilton as he has been previously.
Bottas impressed at Monza after being announced as an Alfa Romeo driver ahead of the race. He won the sprint race and came back from the back end of the grid thanks to an engine penalty to an impressive P3, behind the McLaren cars.
Bottas had been under pressure for a long time as Mercedes was wildly tipped to be promoting George Russell in his seat as he is viewed as a successor to Hamilton.
“I think it’s easy to say it like that, but that’s how I felt at Monza. I felt almost like a weight off my shoulders and just really enjoyed it. So I’m sure it doesn’t do any harm. I felt good and I still feel good,” he revealed. Even at Sochi, the Finn has impressed so far and topped the practice sessions of the weekend.