Valtteri Bottas is leaving Mercedes at the end of this season but has vowed to be a “team player” to the very end.
This year’s championship will be his last at Mercedes, Bottas off to Alfa Romeo for 2022 where, based on current form, wins and even podiums will be in extremely short supply.
Despite that Bottas isn’t planning on stealing the glory for himself in the final five races, not if he is in a position to help his team-mate Lewis Hamilton in the Drivers’ Championship.
The seven-time World Champion is locked in a fierce battle with Max Verstappen for the Drivers’ crown, Hamilton trailing the Red Bull driver by 12 points.
Bottas insists he will continue to help his team-mate if he is in a position to do so.
“If there’s an opportunity for me to help Lewis with the points, like stealing points from Max then I’ll do it because I’m not realistically in the championship anymore,” he said.
“I’m a team player and I’ll take one for the team if needed, but my first priority is always to try and win.
“Everyone is motivated, we know we’re in a close fight and we can’t do any mistakes – we can’t afford them. But at the same time I feel that everyone is still keeping the nerves in good shape and everything seems under control.
“There’s obviously excitement because every point matters so much but motivated is the word I’d say sums up every team member.”
Bottas is third in the Drivers’ standings with 185 points, 102.5 behind Verstappen.
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 4, 2021
The Finn clinched his first race win of this season a month after being informed by Mercedes that he is out, which was quickly followed by him signing a multi-year deal with Alfa Romeo.
Bottas was victorious at the Turkish Grand Prix although it was his Italian Grand Prix P3, a result he secured despite starting at the very back of the grid, that has been arguably his best race of this season.
That result came just six days after his 2022 plans were announced.
“I think once I got my future for the next few years secured, it was almost like a weight coming off my shoulders and I feel like I’m enjoying it again and doing what I love to do,” FoxSports reports him as having told Australia’s Kayo Sports.
“You appreciate the wins much more the less often they happen and obviously it was quite a long wait – one year – and even though every single race I was trying to win, when it doesn’t click, it doesn’t click.
“But then when it does it’s a great feeling and really rewarding.
“I feel like recently I’ve been in good form and if not my best then close to it, definitely.
“I’ve learned a lot and it’s good experience in helping me get better. I’m still hungry to improve more though so I feel that my best years are still ahead of me.”