'It was exhausting' – Lewis Hamilton's rivalry with Valtteri Bottas drove Mercedes star to the edge | The Sun

VALTERRI BOTTAS has opened up about the five seasons he spent as Lewis Hamilton's team-mate at Mercedes.

The Finnish driver admitted he found the desperation to beat the seven-time world champion to a title "exhausting".

Bottas, 33, joined Mercedes for the 2017 season to replace Nico Rosberg, who retired after beating Hamilton a year earlier.

The driver, now with Alfa Romeo, finished second and third two times each in the F1 standings behind Hamilton.

He told journalist Maria Veitola it was tough to come to terms with the fact the Brit was better than him.

Bottas said: "For such a competitive nature, it was hard to accept.


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"It was only in the last year that I could accept that Lewis Hamilton was a better driver.

"I always wondered how I could beat him and win the world championship.

"It was quite an exhausting five years. I wanted to win everything right away, and then when it didn't happen, it was hard to accept."

Mercedes chief Toto Wolff previously said he thought it was correct to let Bottas go at the end of the 2021 season.

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Wolff said: "I think that it was a good moment for Valtteri to leave the team 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 rather than this pressure cooker at Mercedes."

Bottas also recently opened up about suffering with an eating disorder earlier in his career.

He was in a slower car last season with the Italian constructors and finished 10th in last term's standings.

Hamilton is now partnered by George Russell at Mercedes.

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