Valtteri Bottas says he is using the current hiatus from racing during lockdown to lift himself to the “next level” in time for when the Formula 1 season can resume.

F1 is temporarily on hold due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which has forced the opening 10 races of the 2020 season called off, with championship bosses hoping to get racing underway behind closed doors in early July.

After securing his best-ever F1 result by finishing runner-up to world champion and Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in 2019, Bottas is eyeing further improvements for when the rescheduled 2020 season can get underway.

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Speaking in an in-house Mercedes interview published on YouTube, the Finn explained he is using the enforced break to boost both his physical and mental fitness

“It’s very special circumstances in the world and for us in F1,” Bottas said.

“It’s a rare opportunity have the time to do some things that you don’t normally have time for. You have this extra time to build your base condition to really raise your physical fitness and to work on your mental fitness and mental strength.

“I’m really trying to make the most out of this and to be as strong as ever, I’m sure every driver is trying to do the same. I’m trying to lift up myself to the next level during this rare opportunity.

“It’s pretty unique and I’m just trying to make the most out of it because I know when things get back to normal it will be pretty flat-out and you will need to have that mental strength and have your batteries fully recharged.”

F1’s plans for a revamped calendar include holding a series of back-to-back European-based races without spectators, starting with the Austrian Grand Prix on July 5.

And after a minimum five-month spell since he last drove an F1 car during pre-season testing, Bottas believes finding rhythm quickly will be key when the season finally resumes.

“I can’t remember this long ever being away from single-seater cars,” Bottas explained.

“Since I joined Williams as a test driver I can’t remember such a big gap without driving an F1 car.

“I’m sure the cars are going to feel very fast again but the key thing is to find that rhythm as quickly as you can.

“During this pretty special time, you need to make the most out of it and be ready for when it all kicks off and do the things that will help you to be ready.

“I’m trying to make the most out of the situation for myself and for my performance, trying to work out the best things to do, to be at the best possible performance when it all starts.”