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How Bottas has found his voice after leaving Mercedes for Alfa Romeo

After five years as Lewis Hamilton's teammate at Mercedes, Valtteri Bottas took on a new challenge for 2022 by joining Alfa Romeo. The Finn has explained why he is relishing his new role.

Valtteri Bottas has explained why he feels that he has "something to say" since joining Alfa Romeo. The Finn moved to the team for the 2022 season following five years spent at Mercedes as Lewis Hamilton's teammate. During that time, Bottas achieved 10 race wins. However, Bottas was told early on by team boss Fred Vasseur that he should not expect to be standing on the top step of the podium in his first campaign as an Alfa Romeo driver, something that he says was not difficult to accept. "I'm a realist and I knew that it would be a bit much to dream of wins," Bottas told German publication Auto Motor und Sport . "The team had two tough years. The goal had to be to consolidate. I had enough time to set myself new tasks and to focus on them mentally." Instead, Bottas admits that he would consider a podium to be a victory in 2022.

How Bottas' role at Alfa Romeo differs to Mercedes

Having taken more of a leadership role at Alfa Romeo than during his stint at the Silver Arrows, Bottas has enjoyed the new challenges he has faced. "The new role means a lot to me and it motivates me," he explained. "I'm supposed to help the team find a direction. In tuning the car, in motivating the team and in helping my young teammate [Zhou Guanyu]. "The greater responsibility gives you greater satisfaction. I feel like I have something to say now." As part of this, Bottas has spent an increasing amount of time at the team's base in Switzerland. "I'm in the Sauber factory more often than at Mercedes," the 32-year-old said. "Every two races I drop by Hinwil, practically every time there are two weeks between Grands Prix."

Bottas soon felt at home with Alfa Romeo

When asked how long it had taken him to feel at home with the Alfa Romeo squad, Bottas says that it was a quick process. "[It didn't take] that long in the race team," the driver commented. "We spent a lot of time together already during the test drives. It was like a crash course to get to know the people and how they work. "In the factory, I still have to get to grips with it. There are already one or two faces that I don't recognise yet." Bottas currently sits P9 in the World Championship standings with 46 points, while Alfa Romeo are sixth in the Constructors' Championship on 51 points.

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