Valtteri Bottas insists his approach has not changed as he looks to prevent Mercedes Formula 1 teammate Lewis Hamilton from winning a sixth world title at the Mexican Grand Prix.

Having claimed his third victory of the season last time out in Japan, the Finn heads into the weekend trailing Hamilton by 64 points in the drivers’ standings with 104 still to play for in the remaining four rounds.

Hamilton must outscore Bottas by 14 points in Mexico City to wrap up his sixth drivers’ world championship with three races to spare, but Bottas is determined to delay such a scenario.

“Obviously I’ll try to prevent that happening this weekend, but the approach is the normal one as always,” Bottas said.

“To be at my best, work hard with the team and to find the best set-up, focusing on every single session at the time. That’s it – no magic!

“For sure I need to be lucky but Lewis has been performing well all season long and in all the time I’ve been in the team he hasn’t really had any dips of many races,” he added.

“Let’s see, I don’t want to think about it very much. The situation is what it is and the focus is on this race.”

Mercedes is braced for a difficult weekend at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit following its struggles in recent years, with Hamilton and Bottas finishing a distant fourth and fifth in 2018.

Bottas believes Mercedes has gained an understanding into why it struggled for performance last year and hopes for a better showing this time around.

“We have some clues,” he said. “We understood the tyre issues we had last year in the race, we analysed them really well, because it’s a unique circuit with a tarmac that is quite different from the other tracks.

“I think we know what we should do and we try to fix it and do better than last year. The issues were related to the tyres and to which kind of window you have to operate the tyres and how to make them last the distance.

“It’s impossible to predict. It’s always going to be a question mark which engine is going to perform better at high altitude, but no doubt Ferrari is going to be strong.

“They have good power, the straights are pretty long here and, at least last year, in the high altitude they were strong, but it’s difficult to put anyone as favourite, at the moment.

“There are so many things that will affect performance this weekend, so we’ll see as we go. From what we’ve seen in Japan, we have a good race car, so let’s see how it goes.”

Additional reporting by Julianne Cerasoli

 

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