Valtteri Bottas says he needs to find more consistency if he is going to prevail in future battles against Mercedes Formula 1 teammate and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton.

The Finn is 73 points adrift of Hamilton heading into this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix, with only 130 points left up for grabs at the remaining five rounds of the campaign.

Hamilton is set to have his first opportunity of sealing his sixth world championship crown at the upcoming Mexican Grand Prix at the end of October.

Speaking about his performances in 2019, Bottas, who has won two races to Hamilton’s nine, said: “You can improve on everything but I would say that qualifying performance in general has been good, the raw speed is there, but not consistently enough.

“I haven't been able to have clean Q3 sessions as often as I would like to, so that has given me a slight disadvantage in the starting positions a few times.

“That’s one thing I need to work on, minimise the mistakes and maximise every opportunity there is, whether it's about traffic or whatever.

“Another big thing is about race pace and efficiency on the tyres, driving style in certain corners and certain circumstances.

“I've found a good way of working with the engineers now and it's really improving and we can see my gap to Lewis in the performance is shrinking. So I’m improving well at the moment.

“Obviously I would like to do that quicker but I need that consistency and to get those few details right to be able to achieve that goal, but I believe I can in the future.”

Bottas, who remains on course for his best-ever finish in F1, conceded he can only “blame myself” for the situation he finds himself in as he admits he would need to be “very lucky” to have any chance of winning the title.

“I haven't thought in a way that 'that's it', even though I know the facts and I would need to be very lucky as well to still be able to fight for the title,” he said.

“It's not done yet. But I can for sure blame myself as well for being that far [behind] in the points, in this situation, because Lewis has been better so far, more consistently.

“That's how it is. Now we're in this situation, I just focus on each weekend and the closer we get to the end, we will find out what happens with the points and where I finish.

“At least it's going better than last year, at this point.”

 

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