Valtteri Bottas has swiftly turned his focus to fighting for his maiden Formula 1 world title in 2020 after his defeat to Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in this year’s battle was confirmed in Austin last Sunday.

Bottas entered the United States Grand Prix weekend knowing only victory would keep his slim hopes of beating Hamilton to the drivers’ crown alive for another two weeks, having trailed by 74 points with 78 still available.

While Bottas upheld his end of the bargain, winning from pole position, Hamilton finished second to clinch his sixth drivers’ title with two races to spare.

The result left Bottas with a bittersweet feeling in the midst of his title defeat, with the Finn identifying a number of areas in which he lost out to Hamilton through the year.

“l I think there were a few mistakes, for sure, from my side I should have been able to avoid,” Bottas said.

“There were a couple on race starts, at least some of them were mistakes. Some were maybe unlucky moments but they made me learn. Then a couple of qualifyings I messed up in Q3, which cost me starting position for the race and compromised the race and I lost points because of that.

“Otherwise, I don’t know, luck, luck or whatever has been pretty even for me and Lewis overall, so he’s just been on a great level again this year, every single race, and I’ve not been able to be at my very, very best every single race - but much more often than ever before.”

As well as clinching his best-ever championship position for a season in Austin, the result also means Bottas will end 2019 with his most wins and most points in a single campaign, giving him a strong platform to build on for 2020.

“The direction is clear for me in terms of my development overall. It’s a good momentum now,” Bottas said.

“In terms of race pace, which has been my weakness in the years before, I’ve made huge gains by working really hard with the engineers, you know, every single detail of my driving and setup.

“That’s getting better and that gives me real confidence for next year and, unlike at the end of last year, now I really look forward to the year ahead.

“I’m already excited to start the next season and start from fresh. So that’s going to be good fun.”

 

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