Formula 1's sporting boss Ross Brawn says that Valtteri Bottas was the only flaw in Mercedes' season. The Silver Arrows wrapped up both championships once again for the fifth consecutive year, despite receiving a heightened challenge from Ferrari.
Bottas' teammate Lewis Hamilton picked up 11 victories throughout the year on his way to his fifth championship, matching his personal record that he set in the 2014 season. The Briton was matched by Sebastian Vettel in the early stages of the year, but pulled away as the season wore on.
Bottas failed to pick up a win in any of the 21 races, coming close in China, Azerbaijan and Great Britain. At the Russian Grand Prix, the Finn was leading before Hamilton was let through under team orders.
Speaking about Mercedes' season, Brawn said: "The only slight flaw, if there can be one in a season like this, was the performance of Valtteri Bottas, who had a difficult season, plagued by bad luck.
“Valtteri had some opportunities to win, but either through misfortune, as in Baku, or due to the occasional, understandable, decision by the team to maximise the result for the benefit of both championships he didn’t manage it.
The result [was] that he seemed rather out of sorts by the end of the campaign.”
Brawn hailed Mercedes' determination to win, praising the fact it didn't get complacent against Ferrari: “When you win so much and for so long, it is very easy to fall into the trap of complacency,” he acknowledged.
“It’s almost inevitable but can be avoided by consistently raising the bar. Only Ferrari in the Schumacher era has won more than five titles in a row and I had the honour of being technical director of the team when they managed six.
“I recall that every year we were aware that for the following season, we would be starting again from zero, aware that just because we had been strong before, it didn’t automatically translate into an advantage of fractions of a second, because in Formula 1, you can never stop.
“That’s what the team run by Toto Wolff was able to do - avoid panic when it realised that it was not enough to be perfect to beat Ferrari but that more effort would be required than had initially been envisaged.”