Valtteri Bottas says he came close to venting his anger after underdelivering last season and concedes “feeling like I haven’t achieved anything” during his time in Formula 1.

The Finn was the only driver from the top three teams – Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull – to fail to secure a race win last year due to a combination of poor performances, team orders and pure bad luck during the 2018 campaign.

Having ended the season down in fifth place in the F1 drivers’ standings, while Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton stormed to the world title, Bottas has used the winter break to find a mental reset and change his preparations going into this year.

Bottas is under extra pressure to perform this year with Esteban Ocon forced into a reserve role at Mercedes after missing out on a race seat for 2019. The Finnish driver has a one-year deal, with Mercedes holding an option for a second season in 2020, with rumours speculating a shootout between Ocon and Bottas for the race seat next year.

Hamilton, Bottas debut Mercedes W10

CrashTV: 
Video Thumbnail: 

The 29-year-old says he must achieve his own targets this season but feels he doesn’t need to prove anything to Mercedes to demonstrate his potential.

“First of all I still feel like I haven’t achieved anything in Formula 1,” Bottas said. “So for myself, I have a lot to achieve, and I do want to meet my targets. So yes, I do still have a lot to do in Formula 1.

“I feel I have nothing to prove to anyone else except me. The team knows exactly what I’m capable of doing, but it’s going to be up to me, and for us as a team to work hard to be able to perform on my best level all the time. I know exactly what I can do if I perform on my very best level.

“It was a disappointing season and it kind of made me angry with myself that in my six years in Formula 1 I haven’t been achieving my target yet.

“Obviously, I have time but I’m starting to realise you definitely only have one career and I don’t want to be in that situation again. I feel like that and I start question myself if I could have done something better. I just want to make sure that this year I’ll do everything I can to achieve those targets and I’m basically willing to do whatever it takes to make sure I achieve those goals.”

Bottas, who has a new race engineer and performance engineer on his side of the Mercedes garage for 2019, says his focus has been on mental preparation to improve his performances.

“I’m mentally prepared for the whole year, but it all comes down to details, in this sport,” he said. “I just have to be the best that I can, I can’t change certain things, how I drive and so on.

“I know what I can do if I perform at my best level, I’ll be able to be matching and being ahead of Lewis in qualifying or race pace. I know I can do it and now it’s just hard work to be up there more consistently.”

Bottas returns to track action for Mercedes this afternoon taking over from Lewis Hamilton for the final session of the first F1 pre-season test.

 

Comments

Loading Comments...