Toto Wolff has praised Valtteri Bottas’s mentality, and specifically his ability to handle being on the end of “insane” bad luck in 2020.
2020 was a largely disappointing season for Bottas as he failed to come close to challenging Lewis Hamilton for the title and only won two races.
However, his boss doesn’t think that it was all his fault and is impressed with how the Finn handled his misfortunes.
“This season, Valtteri has had insane bad luck, ” Wolff told Autosport.
“Several punctures that shouldn’t have happened, red flags as he led easily [at Mugello]. If I didn’t know he has an absolutely solid mind… A driver might start to wonder why this happens to him. But not Valtteri.
“He’s so solid, so tough and tenacious; that’s only going to make him stronger. I’m sorry for him, that he had all these problems in one season when he could have won three, four or five races and be second with a good lead.
“I think he’s got the right frame of mind. He had a couple of very, very tough weekends and got over it. He had a really good race [in Abu Dhabi]. I think he maybe released some potential.
“Even at the end of the season when the championships were decided, he bounced back. I think that’s the mentality of a fighter.”
One positive for Bottas this year was that, on Saturdays, he was much stronger, beating Hamilton on multiple occasions and often being less than a tenth slower when he lost out.
Despite this, he still feels that race-pace is where he made the most progress in 2020.
“It was extremely close many, many times this year and even in top three as well. We had good qualifying battles with Lewis,” he said as per RaceFans.
“Obviously in the races more often, as the points show, he got the upper hand. But I can’t really say that qualifying was the biggest thing that I improved.
“I would say actually the race pace overall this year was a little bit better. But obviously, there’s always more work to do.
“Of course I didn’t meet my targets for the year in terms of results… but still now looking at the big picture, there’s so many positive things and so many more lessons learnt about driving and about myself and everything that I can again carry into next year and really turn that into a strength and try again.”