Elite sport is defined by small details. Top-tier athletes are therefore extremely self-critical, which is probably the reason Valtteri Bottas describes his first 11 races with Mercedes, which have exceeded most expectations, as "not a very good season so far - it's been OK".
Bottas says his 2017 has been a mix of "good moments, but also difficult races". He made this observation before the Hungarian Grand Prix, in which he beat team-mate Lewis Hamilton and extended his podium streak to five races. It took his seasonal tally to eight podiums from 11 races: two more than Hamilton, and the same as championship leader Sebastian Vettel. It meant he went into the summer break third in the standings, 33 points from the summit.
Replacing the world champion at the all-conquering team of the moment must have been a daunting prospect for a driver who had yet to have the chance to win a grand prix, so Bottas and Mercedes would surely have taken the offer of two victories and a glut of podiums in fewer than a dozen races as Nico Rosberg's successor.