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Bottas admits support role to Hamilton put him in 'dark place'

Alfa Romeo driver Valtteri Bottas has revealed that he felt like retiring from the sport during his first two seasons as Lewis Hamilton’s teammate at Mercedes.

Valtteri Bottas has spoken of how he was left in a "dark place" after having to play a supporting role to Lewis Hamilton at certain times during his years at Mercedes. Bottas spent five seasons racing alongsideHamilton, and in the beginning he believed that the set-up of the car favoured the Briton, leaving him frustrated over his struggles to beat the seven-time World Champion. There were many times later in their partnershipthat Bottas would out-qualify Hamilton, with the first occasion being in 2017 inBahrain. However, due to tyre pressure issues, the Finn dropped back to P3 andwas unable to match Hamilton's pace. He finished his time with Mercedes with 10 winsunder his belt, the first being in Russia in 2017. Despite this, Bottas has spoken of how his struggles tomatch Hamilton – and the subsequent support role he often had to play – caused him to lose the joy of racing.

Bottas: I put so much pressure on myself

"At the end of 2018, I almost stopped, it was so close," Bottas told MotorSport Magazine's My Big Break podcast . "Just because I couldn't understand and take the fact that I couldn’t beat Lewis in those two years. "I put so much pressure on myself. Towards the end of 2018, especially when I started to have the support role in the team, I really couldn’t take it, I really struggled. It was not fun. "The human mind is strange in a way that sometimes you go into dark places. You lose the joy in things, and I just completely lost the joy of F1 and racing in F1. "I was almost angry at F1."

How time off helped Bottas to bounce back

Bottas found himself more able to rediscover his love of the sport after stepping back from it all. "It's weird, but I just needed some time off, and think of the big picture and then I realised that, 'Okay, it’s actually a pretty cool sport and I still have great opportunities ahead of me'," he explained. "So, I would be silly not to take them." Now racing for Alfa Romeo, Bottas finished seventh overall last time out in Canada.