At the 2018 Russian Grand Prix, Mercedes asked Valtteri Bottas to move over for Lewis Hamilton because at that point the Briton was engaged in a close championship fight with Sebastian Vettel.
The Finn did what was asked of him, but he now says it changed things for him for the rest of the season.
“Yeah, it was tough,” Bottas told F1’s Beyond the Grid podcast.
“You know, obviously, I made a decision, I did it. Although, it was like biting my own teeth together and really didn’t feel natural and not right, because I’m a racer. But I did it for the team.
“But I also think, at that moment, I lost certain sense of… Everything just became a bit more tricky after that for the rest of the season.
“Because I realised that, ‘OK, my role is now basically just helping’, and I couldn’t really digest that. And then I think I wasn’t in the right mindset for the rest of the year.”
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However, Bottas says that despite this, he never felt Mercedes didn’t give him a fair chance to fight for the title.
“The thing is, there were some seasons that I started pretty strong, then there was unlucky moments, or maybe I had a bad race or two.
“Lewis always kept performing in a really consistent way, all the time. And then, once there was a bit of a gap in the points, then obviously the focus starts to shift to the car that is most likely going to win the championship.”
Bottas was then asked where he sees the key differences between himself and Hamilton.
“I would say the biggest difference between me and Lewis in recent years was that he’s always been able to perform at a high level, he rarely had bad weekends.
“He obviously had some, but less than me, and it is impressive how he can always be there, no matter what conditions, which track, what life situation, whatever.
“Once he gets in the car, he always delivers,” Valtteri concluded.