Valtteri Bottas has admitted the “small trophy” he expects to receive for finishing second in this year’s World Championship “can’t be that satisfying”.
The Finn was a distant runner-up to his Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ standings, 124 points adrift, even though he drove one more race than his colleague who missed the Sakhir Grand Prix after testing positive for COVID-19.
Bottas also finished second overall to Hamilton last year but was comparatively closer at 87 points behind.
Although the 31-year-old has the consolation of having helped Mercedes to the last four of their seven consecutive constructors’ titles, he remains hopeful of challenging for individual honours and taking home a larger piece of silverware from the annual FIA prizegiving ceremony.
“As a driver, when you are in the best team overall this season, being second can’t be that satisfying,” said Bottas, quoted by Autosport.
“But it is something to be able to contribute to the team this season, getting the fourth constructors’ title for me in the team and seventh in a row for us.
“It’s better than being third, for sure. I guess I will get a small trophy to take home next week and I’m sure when I’m old and grey I can look this year and yeah, I was second.
“But hopefully I’ll get a bigger trophy one day.”
— Valtteri Bottas (@ValtteriBottas) December 15, 2020
Bottas began the 2020 season strongly with victory at the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, taking an early lead in the championship standings as Hamilton ended up fourth.
But after losing his points advantage following the third round in Hungary, Bottas scored only one more win, in Russia, through the remainder of the season.
Hamilton ended the year with 11 victories to his name, wrapping up the title with three races to spare in Turkey.
Despite a tricky end to the year when he finished on the podium just once in the last four races, and was no higher than eighth in the other three, Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff felt Bottas was still in “the right mindset”.
“He had two or three very difficult weekends and recovered,” said Wolff.
“He had a very good race in Abu Dhabi but I think maybe he has unlocked a potential that you recover even towards the end of the season, when Championships are decided. I think this is the mentality of a fighter.”