Valtteri Bottas says he has turned the criticism he received in 2018 into positives to provide him with an “extra boost” heading into the 2019 Formula 1 season. 

After taking three wins in a strong first season with Mercedes, Bottas endured a tough winless campaign in 2018 and was comprehensively beaten by teammate Lewis Hamilton, who took 11 victories on his way to winning a fifth world title. 

Bottas ended the year with a run of four consecutive fifth-place finishes and slipped to fifth place in the drivers’ standings, leading to questions being raised over his future with the German manufacturer. 

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"I am very happy to start a new season, because for me personally 2018 did not go the way I wanted to,” Bottas said.

"There was quite a bit of criticism at some stages of 2018, but that's actually been a positive thing for me because it's given me an extra boost.

"I've taken all the points I can learn from last year to come back stronger. And I also found many positives, which I maybe didn't see at the end of the year, but now digging deep I can see those. 

"I can build on all of that for 2019.” 

Bottas said he wanted to “disappear” during the off-season following what he had described as his worst campaign in F1 to date. 

Having spent some of the winter break in South America, Bottas returned to competitive action early in 2019, claiming a stage win and finishing fifth overall on his rallying debut in Finland - leaving him re-energised ahead of the new season. 

"I am excited that everyone starts with zero points,” he said. “We are all on the same line and 2019 can bring anything, that's exciting.

"It’s going to be a new season ahead and I'm going to put everything I have for this year, all in. I'm sure it's going to be interesting.

"I'm full of energy and I'm looking forward to the new season.”

Despite failing to win any races in 2018, Bottas did help Mercedes claim its fifth successive constructors’ championship. The Finn insisted motivation remains as high as ever heading into the new season, with teams facing an added challenge from revised aerodynamic regulations. 

"It’s like nothing has changed in the past few weeks when I haven't been here,” Bottas explained. 

"Everyone is working as hard as ever, I think everyone is looking forward to the new season. 

"With some regulation changes there are always question marks, but I can guarantee everyone has been doing and will be doing everything they can for the new car.” 

 

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