Date published: December 7 2018
Mika Hakkinen has backed Valtteri Bottas to take the next steps towards success in 2019 with Mercedes.
2019 will provide a familiar feeling for Bottas, as he will enter the season looking to prove himself once again at the Silver Arrows with his contract being extended only a year at a time.
After a winless 2018 campaign, the pressure is rising on the Finn, who will feel the presence of reserve driver Esteban Ocon next season as he waits in the wings.
But his fellow Finn, Hakkinen, thinks people should not give up on Bottas just yet and drew on his own personal experiences to relate to Bottas’ current situation.
“Victory in Azerbaijan was taken away from him by a puncture, and for much of the season he had to support Lewis Hamilton as the Mercedes team came under pressure from Ferrari,” Hakkinen said in his Unibet column.
“Of course Valtteri wanted to be winning, but one thing you learn quickly in Formula 1 is that the road to the top is not always straight.
“I remember when I was racing against team-mates and great names such as Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell.
“I was not yet winning, but I learned a lot from watching them, working hard in the team and improving step by step.
“It’s all about constantly improving, one day being quicker than your team-mate, sometimes slower.”
Hakkinen went on to say that Bottas can still show in 2019 that he has World Championship-winning credentials.
“Valtteri is mega quick, fit and hard-working,” the double World Champion added.
“With Mercedes behind him, and the team of people around him including me, I have no doubt that he will take the next steps towards winning races and a World Championship title.”