Hakkinen praises Bottas’ step back: “Constantly closed door at Mercedes”

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After five fairly successful years, Valtteri Bottas leaves the Mercedes team behind for a new adventure with the men of Alfa Romeo. Countryman Mika Hakkinen thinks the switch will work out well for Bottas.

After a long period as wingman of Lewis Hamilton, Bottas’ employment at Mercedes is coming to an end. After participating in the front as standard and winning five constructors’ titles, that is a step back, concludes Hakkinen. “He will drive for a great team, but he will not fight for similar places as in his Mercedes time. The resources of the teams are not comparable,” he told SuomiF1.

Long-term

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It is indeed a step back, as Alfa Romeo finished seventh in the championship last year. With Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi in the ranks, the Swiss team managed to collect 77 points. Hakkinen thinks that driving for a team with a lot less pressure can work out well for his compatriot. “Valtteri is a great team player and driver. Now he can focus on the long term,” said Hakkinen.

Self confidence

He explains why. “At Mercedes, he always got one-year contracts. There was never light at the end of the tunnel, but he was normally waiting at a closed door. That uncertainty eats away at your self-confidence. He never got the credit he wanted from Mercedes. “If the carpet is constantly being pulled from under your feet, it is never good for your confidence. Here he can ride for a longer period of time and that gives confidence,” he concludes.

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