Valtteri Bottas says having the backing of Mercedes after securing his 2020 Formula 1 future at the world champions has given him a peace of mind to attack the end of the season as he continues to target the title and taking on teammate Lewis Hamilton.

During the build-up to the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend, Mercedes confirmed the Finnish driver will stay at the team for 2020 alongside Hamilton meaning the German manufacturer cuts ties to Esteban Ocon who heads to Renault from next season.

With his future settled, Bottas feels he can use the peace of mind to fully focus on his own F1 world title ambitions.

The Finn trails Hamilton by 65 points in the drivers’ standings in second place but has gained backing from Mercedes boss Toto Wolff to continue to fight for the title against his teammate.

“I wouldn’t say the approached changed expect that, for sure, there are no outside disturbing factors from that side anymore,” Bottas said. “I don’t need to think about that, don’t need to make phone calls between the races, so for sure it only gives you a kind of peace for when you work at the races.

“I feel and I know I have the trust from the team for the end of the year and 2020, it’s a good feeling and we can really focus on the work, so it’s a better situation than what I had before the break.”

Bottas has also played down the impact of Ferrari being considered favourite to take victory at the Italian Grand Prix this weekend after the Scuderia dominated to a front-row lockout in qualifying at Spa-Francorchamps last time out which led to Charles Leclerc claiming his maiden F1 race victory.

“The approach doesn’t change, even though, on paper, Ferrari is the favourite coming into this weekend, but we still know we have all the chances to win here and that’s the only thing in our mind, how to get there, how to make it happen,” he said.

“It’s the same mentality if you have the fastest or the third fastest car on how you approach the weekend.”

 

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