Valtteri Bottas has admitted to having failed in some areas of performance in the 2019 Formula 1 season, saying he would needed to have been at his very best to beat Lewis Hamilton to the championship.
The Finn won the United States Grand Prix on Sunday, but lost out in the title race after Hamilton gained enough points by finishing second to take it beyond him.
A mid-season lull is generally accepted to be reason for the gap opening up, and he has highlighted particular areas from that time which left him disappointed.
“Overall I think there were a few mistakes, for sure, from my side I should have been able to avoid. There were a couple on race starts, at least some of them were mistakes, some were maybe unlucky moments but they made me learn,” he said in the post-race press conference.
“Then a couple of qualifyings I messed up in Q3, definitely, which cost me starting position for the race and compromised the race and I lost points because of that.
“And then, otherwise, I don’t know, luck, unluck (sic) 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, so the direction is clear for me in terms of my development, overall.”
Last year after finishing fifth in the drivers’ championship, Bottas cut a dejected figure, but after the major improvements in the year since, he says he is finishing the season with much more confidence compared to the previous campaign.
“It’s a good momentum now and 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 set-up,” he continued.
“That’s getting better and that gives me really confidence for next year and, unlike at the end of last year, now I really look forward to the year ahead, and I’m already excited to start the next season and start from fresh. So that’s going to be good fun.”
After failing to win a single race in 2018, he has won four this season in Australia, Azerbaijan, Japan, and the USA.