The performance of Valtteri Bottas, who finished 2018 without a win on the board, was the only “slight flaw” in an otherwise incredible 2018 for Mercedes, says Ross Brawn.
Mercedes retained the double for a fifth successive season as Lewis Hamilton wrapped up his fifth Drivers’ Championship while Bottas helped Mercedes secure the Constructors’ crown.
It, however, wasn’t a great season for the Finn.
Twice he was robbed of race wins with a puncture in Azerbaijan and team orders in Russia.
The latter seemed to have a negative effect on the Finn, who dropped to fifth in the standings with Toto Wolff fearing this season has left his driver mentally damaged.
Brawn reckons Bottas was the only downside to an otherwise epic season for Mercedes.
“The only slight flaw, if there can be one in a season like this, was the performance of Valtteri Bottas, who had a difficult season, plagued by bad luck,” said the F1 sporting boss.
“Valtteri had some opportunities to win, but either through misfortune, as in Baku, or due to the occasional, understandable, decision by the team to maximise the result for the benefit of both championships he didn’t manage it.
“The result [was] that he seemed rather out of sorts by the end of the campaign.”
Brawn was full of praise for what Mercedes’ achieved in 2018, well aware of the efforts it takes to maintain a winning run.
He said: “When you win so much and for so long, it is very easy to fall into the trap of complacency.
“It’s almost inevitable but can be avoided by consistently raising the bar.
“Only Ferrari in the Schumacher era has won more than five titles in a row and I had the honour of being technical director of the team when they managed six.
“I recall that every year we were aware that for the following season, we would be starting again from zero, aware that just because we had been strong before, it didn’t automatically translate into an advantage of fractions of a second, because in Formula 1, you can never stop.
“That’s what the team run by Toto Wolff was able to do – avoid panic when it realised that it was not enough to be perfect to beat Ferrari but that more effort would be required than had initially been envisaged.”