Mercedes decision ‘a shame’ as Sebastian Vettel raises questions for F1 2022 season

Mercedes boss hopes ‘robbed’ Lewis Hamilton will continue racing

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Sebastian Vettel feels as though it is a “shame” that Valtteri Bottas’ time at Mercedes has come to an end. Bottas came in as Nico Rosberg’s replacement for the 2017 season and proved to be the perfect team-mate to Lewis Hamilton.

While the Finnish F1 driver struggled to challenge for race wins, Bottas had been consistent in making sure he did his part in helping Mercedes win the Constructors’ Championship for consecutive years.

There was more pressure this year on Bottas to deliver a closer challenge to Hamilton with George Russell knocking at the door.

The young British driver impressed when stepping in for Hamilton at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix and was out of contract with Williams at the end of 2021.

But Bottas hadn’t done enough to keep his seat for next season with Mercedes announcing back in September that Russell would be joining Hamilton.

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It brought an end to Bottas’ five-year stint with Mercedes where he won 10 races with the 32-year-old now moving on to join Alfa Romeo.

Vettel has had many battles with Bottas on the track over the years and feels it is a “shame” that his old rival was leaving Mercedes.

However, Vettel believes Bottas will enjoy his time battling in the midfield with his new team.

“Somehow I think it’s a shame that he has to leave Mercedes,” Vettel told Blick.

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“But maybe the new regulations for the Swiss team in 2022 will suit him, so that things will finally be more balanced in the field and he will have more chances.

“Valtteri is one of the most straightforward and honest drivers.

“And above all, Bottas is also one of the fastest drivers in the field.”

He added: “I’m just happy that he can play a much more central role there than before.

“Bottas certainly didn’t always have it easy in the five years alongside Hamilton. But I’m also sure that he was always treated fairly at Mercedes.”

Bottas was brutally honest when assessing his time with Mercedes, admitting competing with Hamilton was a tough task.

“I honestly feel like on my best days, whether it’s a race or qualifying, I’m unbeatable,” Bottas said.

“But unfortunately, I don’t always have the best days. I can’t say I exceeded anything.

“Where I feel like I failed, obviously I didn’t manage to win the drivers’ championship. But it wasn’t simple alongside Lewis. He always got the upper hand.”

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