F1 news: Mercedes boss reveals Valtteri Bottas disappointment despite Lewis Hamilton title

Mercedes came into 2018 campaign with plenty of optimism having won four drivers’ and constructors’ titles on the bounce.

Hamilton’s heroics ensured Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel will have to wait at least another year to win a fifth World Drivers’ Championship of his own.

The 33-year-old went level with Juan Manuel Fangio in Mexico City last month and equalling Michael Schumacher’s haul of seven titles is now a distinct possibility.

Lewis Hamilton has Mercedes team-mate Bottas to thank in part for being able to edge ahead of Vettel.

Under team orders, the Finn worked in tandem with Hamilton this year once it was clear he was out of the title race.

Bottas ultimately finished fifth in the World Drivers’ Championship standings, 161 points adrift of F1 champion Hamilton.

Wolff opened up about how Bottas is feeling after a disheartening fifth place finish at Sunday’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“Valtteri was struggling with the brakes today; we’re still investigating the issue but we could see that the balance of his car was off,” Wolff said.

“Valtteri had a tough season and I understand that he is disappointed – once the championship opportunity is taken away, it gets very difficult for a driver.”

Wolff expects Bottas to be ready to challenge for F1 glory when he returns to action in 2019 though.

“He will take the winter to recharge his batteries and come back stronger next year,” Wolff added.

Like Wolff, Mercedes chief race engineer Andrew Shovlin sympathised with Bottas.

“Valtteri had an issue during the race when he locked up at turn 5 and then lost positions,” Shovlin said.

“We’ll have to a look into that to understand it as his race was all going to plan until that point and he was managing everything well.

“I’m sure Valtteri is looking forward to 2019, this year started well for him but he’s had some cruel luck since [the Azerbaijan Grand Prix].

“He’s been such an important part of the team through this year and we’ll work hard over the next few months to make sure we can deliver him a reliable and fast car next year.”