Valtteri Bottas is working towards producing his best on a consistent basis in order to fight for a maiden Formula 1 world title after conceding the 2019 drivers’ crown to Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton at the United States Grand Prix.

While Bottas is enjoying his best-ever F1 campaign this year and will secure his highest finishing position in an F1 world championship as runner-up, the Finn accepts he still has improvements to find to secure an F1 world title having seen Hamilton wrap-up the crown with two races to spare.

Bottas duly sees Hamilton as the benchmark for his own performances and feels he hasn’t reached his optimum yet over the course of a full F1 season despite taking four wins plus 11 additional rostrum results so far in 2019.

“Every driver always keeps improving and as long as you want it, you can improve,” Bottas said.

“Lewis always wants it all the time, he’s not chilling out, he’s always working to improve, but at least from what I can see and the team can see too, our relative performance gap is getting smaller and smaller and, for sure, I haven’t yet reached my peak. So, it’s up to me to work on it and improve.

“There’s no doubt he’s motivated to win I don’t know how many championships but no one else knows how motivated I am, deep inside, to win at least my first title.”

Despite the 67-point gap between himself and Hamilton in the drivers’ standings heading into the final two races of the season, Bottas is certain the key differences with the Mercedes teammates has been minimal but accepts costly mistakes have made him pay this season.

Bottas crashed out while fighting for a podium position at the German Grand Prix, with Hamilton running in the lower points places after an earlier off at the time, while at the next race in Hungary a disastrous opening lap saw him drop out of contention. The Finn saw the last of his world title hopes effectively ended by his qualifying crash in Mexico as Hamilton stormed to victory in the race.

“There haven’t been big gaps between us as the averages show really tiny numbers,” he said. “There are a lot of variables and things can shift quite quickly but the overall performance could always been better.

“There have been mistakes from my side, that cost me better starting positions for the races.

“Mexico is a good example of that, where I stepped over the limit trying to find all the performance from the lap but that can happen.”