Hamilton title loss saw Bottas lose bonus payment

Jamie Woodhouse
Valtteri Bottas places his hand to his head. Abu Dhabi, December 2021.

Valtteri Bottas places his hand to his head, while looking at the camera in the Alfa Romeo garage. Abu Dhabi, December 2021.

As a result of Lewis Hamilton failing to capture the 2021 title in Abu Dhabi, Valtteri Bottas also lost out on a nice chunk of money.

Incentive bonuses are a common part of sport, Formula 1 included, and over at Mercedes a bonus would have come the Finn’s way if Hamilton was crowned 2021 World Champion.

Until the final lap it seemed as though the cash was coming home with Bottas, but a late Safety Car period changed all of that, with Max Verstappen snatching the victory and the title from Hamilton on that final tour of Yas Marina Circuit.

With that, Bottas’ share of the team bonus vanished along with Hamilton’s hopes of that record eighth World Championship.

To the suggestion during a Supla podcast that Abu Dhabi had cost Bottas financially, he replied: “Yes, you’re right.

“Certain bonuses are tied to certain achievements.

“Luckily, I hadn’t gotten anything in advance.”

Valtteri Bottas sitting next to Lewis Hamilton. Yas Marina December 2021.
Valtteri Bottas sitting next to Lewis Hamilton at a photoshoot before the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Yas Marina December 2021.

Fortunately though, Bottas will not be feeling the sting of that lost revenue.

Having first made his breakthrough into Formula 1 with Williams in 2013, Bottas joined Mercedes ahead of the 2017 campaign, so having spent five seasons with the team that has won eight Constructors’ titles in succession, Bottas certainly has not found himself near the lower end of the series’ pay scale.

So, the time where Bottas still focused on his bank balance has been and gone, instead he is thankful for what he has and remembers his journey to this point.

“I don’t really measure it like that but at some point, a moment came when there was no need to look at the bank balance anymore,” he said.

“Money is of course a big thing in Formula 1, but I remember where I come from and I have done quite well because of that.”


2021 was Bottas’ final season at Mercedes, with the Finn now preparing to begin the next stage of his career at Alfa Romeo alongside Guanyu Zhou.

Hamilton’s new team-mate at Mercedes will be George Russell, who steps up to the team after three seasons with Williams as a Mercedes junior.

That is as long as Hamilton does return. He has not spoken publicly since the controversial conclusion to his title bid in Abu Dhabi, with his “we’ll see about next year comment” in the immediate aftermath of the race continuing to create doubt over his future.


Hamilton a victim of ‘theft’ in Abu Dhabi

Rally legend Sebastien Ogier thinks Lewis Hamilton was 'robbed' of an eighth World title.