Valtteri Bottas is refusing to let speculation regarding his Mercedes Formula 1 future distract him on race weekends, focusing only on his own performances in his push to secure a seat for 2020.

Mercedes has an option on Bottas’ services for next season as the Finn looks to extend his stay at Brackley into a fourth year, and is due to take a decision this month.

The team is weighing up whether to retain Bottas as Lewis Hamilton’s teammate or opt to promote current reserve driver Esteban Ocon into his seat. Speculation linking Max Verstappen with a move to the German marque is also circulating the paddock.

Speaking earlier this weekend in Hungary, Bottas explained how he was trying to minimise his thoughts about his future, focusing instead on his own performances across race weekends.

“For sure when people talk about it and ask about it, you think about it a little bit. But you try to minimise it,” Bottas said.

“It doesn’t matter between races. You think about it and for sure we have discussions and talk to the team about very open discussions.

“That’s all good, but I have been able to find ways that wherever it’s going in your mind, in life situations, when I’m in the car there is nothing else on my mind. And during engineering work here at the race weekend, there is nothing else in my mind apart from my performance.

“That’s what matters in the car, and I’m sure this weekend it won’t be a problem again.”

Bottas made a strong start to the 2019 season with victories in Australia and Azerbaijan, but has since struggled to match Hamilton’s level of performance, slipping 41 points behind in the drivers’ championship.

A crash when in the hunt for a podium finish in Germany last weekend cost Bottas to cut the gap to Hamilton, with the Finn conceding the error came at a bad time as Mercedes ponders his future.

“For sure it was not ideal in terms of that, but it happens. Unfortunately it was a mistake that came at the wrong time,” Bottas said.

“I was also trying hard, pushing hard, which is also what the team wants to see. I don’t think one race or one mistake is going to change anything, and that’s my mindset coming here.

“I shouldn’t really think about it. I need to perform ay my best and focus on that. I know I can do well, so I try to do that this weekend.

“Obviously a lot is up to the team with the decision, but it’s no stress, just full gas!” 

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