Valtteri Bottas says his mindset has changed and that he feels “different” compared to previous campaigns as he looks to build on his victorious start to the Formula 1 season.

Bottas ended a winless streak dating back to the end of 2017 by taking a dominant victory in Australia two weeks ago, beating Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton by 20 seconds.

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Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff heaped praise on Bottas after the win, saying the Finn had rediscovered the star form that had made him stand out in junior categories.

Hamilton said ahead of this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix he had not noticed any differences in his teammate compared to last year – with the exception of a new beard.

But Bottas responded by saying he had changed his mindset and approach for 2019, something he could note even after just a single race.

“It’s very early in the season, just one race, but, for sure, if you look at the result, I can say that something in my mindset has changed for the year,” Bottas said.

“The preparation over the winter and the way I feel and think about things have changed, but it’s quite difficult to explain.

“I feel different from the years before.”

Bottas headed up a one-two finish for Mercedes in a race that saw the team pull comfortably clear of rival teams Red Bull and Ferrari, who failed to put up a fight for victory.

However, the early championship leader said he did not want to read too much into the result, believing Bahrain will offer a more representative reading of the pecking order.

“It’s quite difficult to say. For sure we were all positively surprised by the performance we had in Melbourne, but that’s a bit of a funny circuit,” Bottas said.

“I would say that here and in China we’re going to get a much better picture of the performance at this point of the year.

“Obviously, it was very welcome from us to see that kind of pace, the feeling with the car was a lot better than in winter testing. The time spent between the test and the first race was spent very efficiently, I must say.

“Let’s see how it feels here.”

Additional reporting by Haydn Cobb.

 

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