Report- Lewis Hamilton: Why Valtteri Bottas failed to beat Mercedes driver to F1 title – Mika Salo | F1 | Sport

Lewis Hamilton: Why Valtteri Bottas failed to beat Mercedes driver to F1 title - Mika Salo | F1 | Sport

That is the opinion of former driver Mika Salo, who says the Finn’s campaign would have been different had he won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Bottas ended 2018 a disappointing fifth in the World Drivers’ Championship standings having secured just eight podium finishes all year.

And that came after he was forced to follow orders and help Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton wrap up his fifth title as the season drew to a close.

Bottas will have to dust himself down over the winter and ensure he is in the zone ahead of next March’s Australian Grand Prix.

Salo has now offered his backing to his compatriot by suggesting his problems were not his fault.

And he’s claimed Bottas would have been in in F1 championship contention had he not suffered a bout of bad luck when leading at April’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

“No, Valtteri has no choice but to reset this season completely and start again next year,” Salo told Finnish outlet MTV.

“Okay, pretty much everything went wrong this year.

“However long he would he have been in the car, this could have happened.

“Baku was really bad.

“If he had not been interrupted, he would have led the series at that stage and it would have turned the season into something different.

“There were so many little things that were just bad luck, not anything that Valtteri did badly.

“But they surely affected him on the mental side pretty badly.”

Valtteri Bottas has been open in admitting the 2018 F1 season was far from ideal.

Salo says the 29-year-old discussing the reasons for his failures is only fair though.

“I think it’s okay. When they are aware of them, they say it out loud,” Salo said.

“He has at least noticed what have been the weak points for him and will work again in the winter, so that they are not there next year.”

Bottas has a year left on his Mercedes deal and will be under pressure to perform in 2019 with a number of rival drivers potentially on Mercedes’ radar.