Valtteri Bottas tells of his 'really special' last day with the Mercedes Formula 1 team

Valtteri Bottas has described his final day at the Mercedes factory as “really special” before he heads off to officially join Alfa Romeo.

We say “officially” join because the Finn has already driven for the Swiss-based team, doing so at the post-season Pirelli tyre test in Abu Dhabi.

But he was back in Mercedes colours for one last time as Bottas, Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff visited the factories to say their thanks to the workforce for helping to ensure the team were crowned Constructors’ champions for the eighth year in a row.

It completed Mercedes’ return to their usual high profile within the sport having kept their own counsel for three whole days since the controversial end to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in which Hamilton relinquished the Drivers’ title to Max Verstappen.

Wolff and Hamilton in particular kept their heads down while the team deliberated whether to press ahead with an appeal against the Yas Marina result, in their belief that race director Michael Masi had made decisions that contravened the rulebook and cost the Briton his crown.

However, on Thursday, Mercedes dropped plans to appeal as they believed the structure of that process would not have resulted in the “justice” they felt they deserved, rather than it being a case of admitting defeat.

Bottas leaves the team with a 100% record of winning the Constructors’ Championship in his five seasons alongside Hamilton, and left a parting message before departing for Alfa Romeo where he will become team leader with rookie Guanyu Zhou as his team-mate.

For one last time, take it away VB.

Before signing off, @ValtteriBottas has one final message to share with you, the Mercedes family. 💙 pic.twitter.com/OHY9PAkmft

— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) December 17, 2021

“It’s been my last day at the Mercedes factories and it’s been emotional,” said Bottas in a social media video for the team.

“It’s been nice to see all the people and I really felt proud and privileged to be with the team for five years, and in all of those years getting the Constructors’ title.

“Also, some FIA Drivers’ Championship trophies for me, not the winning one but some other trophies which is something, I guess.

“Thank you for all the support – it means a lot – and to everyone in the team that I said goodbye to today. It was a really special day.”

 

Bottas departs Mercedes having won 10 races for them, bagged double that number in pole positions and finished on the podium 58 times. He also reached Q3 in all of his 101 grands prix for the team.

 

 

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