Valtteri Bottas says that the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix perfectly summed up his season after another disappointing result. The Finn was just beaten to pole position on Saturday by teammate Lewis Hamilton, and set out on Sunday to take his first win of the season.
After running in P2 for the opening stint, Bottas found being past by Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo in the second phase of the race. The Mercedes driver crossed the line in fifth place, making a late pit stop after Mercedes were concerned by his tyres.
"I think that race sums up my season pretty well,” Bottas said after the race. “I had a lock up into Turn 5 and in Turn 8 when Max got close. I don’t know why, the team said they could see some issue but I don’t know what and then I touched with Max and there was a slow puncture and in the end… that was it really."
Bottas ends the year as the only driver from the top six that failed to win a race across the entire season. When asked to summarise his 2018 campaign, he replied: “Honestly you’re asking that too early after the end of the year. I want to have some time off and time to think about things. It’s been a mentally tough year so I need some break.”
Bottas will return to Mercedes in 2019 alongside Lewis Hamilton, but signed a one-year deal earlier this season, which means his seat could be in jeopardy come towards the end of next year if he doesn't perform. And he admits that he is already thinking about the new season.
"For sure it has been on my mind but after this kind of season I don’t have the energy to look too far away. I’m just going to take it easy for a while and then I start to look forward. For now it’s just difficult to see the positives but I will.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing