Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has said that Valtteri Bottas made the switch from Mercedes at the correct time. He also said that Bottas looks much happier now that he is not under the immense pressure that he was under at Mercedes.
Valtteri Bottas left Mercedes at the end of the 2021 season. He had spent five seasons with the Silver Arrows and was replaced by George Russell who moved over from Williams.
Valtteri Bottas was an instrumental part of the Mercedes team that won eight Constructor’s Championships consecutively. However, he never really managed to challenge his teammate Lewis Hamilton throughout that time period.
The difference between Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas was so much that even Max Verstappen used Valtteri Bottas as an example of an ideal second driver. However, Bottas is the team leader at Alfa Romeo now, and even though the car is definitely not competitive enough to fight at the front, he is enjoying life much more.
Toto Wolff spoke to Channel 4 about the departure of Valtteri Bottas and explained that he believes Bottas made the right decision at the right time.
“I think that it was also a good moment for Valtteri to leave the team,” explained Toto Wolff “Because the pressure was enormous on him and he didn’t want to be a wingman.“
“I think having released him from that pressure now he’s racing with Alfa, it is completely different and he seems also happier for me rather than this pressure cooker at Mercedes.”
Valtteri Bottas himself admitted that he is the happiest at Alfa Romeo
Even before Bottas was released from Mercedes, it was widely speculated that George Russell will make the step up to Mercedes from Williams. Toto Wolff himself admitted that he wanted to promote George Russell to his car, but did not want to do it until Valtteri Bottas had secured an alternate seat for himself.
Toto Wolff explained that he never committed to George Russell before Valtteri Bottas found another seat in Formula 1. This is because Toto Wolff respects and cares about Bottas.
He said that he also expressed this to George Russell and explained why it took him such a long time to promote the Brit to Mercedes. Toto Wolff also said that he would do the same for George Russell if the situation comes to such.
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Valtteri Bottas spoke to PlanetF1.com and said that he missed Mercedes and even Williams. However, he is the happiest at Alfa Romeo and cannot think about racing anywhere else currently.