Last four races of the 2018 season were terrible for the Finn – he finished 5th, was under a big pressure, everyone kept talking about him as a ‘second’ driver; all of these resulted in a 5th place in the World Championship standings, behind Lewis Hamilton, two Ferrari drivers and Max Verstappen.
The winter was tough, as it was for Nico Rosberg several years ago. The people saying that you are weak are always there – in the press and in social media, – but the fun fact is, if you survive, you’ll become much stronger and prepared for the next round.
We saw the new Bottas at Barcelona winter tests, he has even changed his appearance a bit: "I did not shave in the winter, I liked how it looks and it fits with what I want to convey," he said, along with the statements about future achievements.
“I had a really good winter; I’m full of energy and I’m looking forward to the new season. I started my first training camp in early January and have been on a good path ever since.”
"I've been in F1 for six years now and I'm not where I want to be. I want to be able to say at the end of the year: I did everything. I could not have done better."
Yes, it’s too early to make predictions or conclusions, however, Australian Grand Prix has really shown us some good transformations – Valtteri won the start and then managed to stay ahead of his teammate till the end; as he said himself, it was his best race so far.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has also shared a good impression on one of his driver’s performance:
“How he recovered from being written off, ‘not up for the job’, in the second half of the season last year, to scoring one of the most dominant victories that we’ve seen in recent years, just shows us the human potential and how much it is a mind game.
“It’s for me also a bit of a fairytale: Don’t let others break you, believe in yourself.”
We’ve already mentioned Rosberg in this article and that’s not a coincidence – back then in 2014 and 2015 he was in the same situation, then finally changed his approach and made it up to the title in 2016. Nico has kind of ‘predicted’ the return that Bottas could make in a new season, and now, after the first Grand Prix, Lewis’ former teammate has something to say:
“I think if Valtteri can keep the positive mentality, he can become world champion, because then Lewis has his periods of weakness.
“Bottas is in combat mode this year. You cannot underestimate the mental side in Formula 1.”
Well, maybe these are true thoughts. Maybe in order to rise up you really need to fall first, who knows exactly? Australian Grand Prix statistics shows us an interesting fact – the team, which makes a double podium, wins the Constructors Championship and one of its drivers become a champion the same year.