UP 2

Autosport (UK) - - PIT + PADDOCK/LETTERS -

BOTTA SH AD ONE OF THE TOUGH­EST tasks on the grid: step­ping up from a mid­field team late in the day, into a seat va­cated by the reign­ing world cham­pion – a driver so ex­hausted by fighting Lewis Hamil­ton that he de­cided to re­tire rather than de­fend his ti­tle.

Bot­tas ac­quit­ted him­self su­perbly – pole in his third race, two wins from the first nine, a ti­tle con­tender be­fore the Au­gust break. When Mercedes most strug­gled with the W08 on smooth, low-speed tracks dur­ing the first half of the sea­son, it was Bot­tas who looked more as­sured than his mul­ti­ple world cham­pion team-mate.

But Bot­tas’s form dipped as the car im­proved, and Hamil­ton stepped up his game. Bot­tas started to look sec­ond rate, ad­mit­ting his con­fi­dence took a bat­ter­ing. Ar­guably the most im­pres­sive as­pect to Bot­tas’s sea­son is the fact that he found a way to turn things around.

His strong fin­ish to the year, show­cas­ing im­pres­sive men­tal re­silience and ca­pac­ity for self­im­prove­ment, el­e­vates him back into the top six in this rank­ing.

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