Date published: January 12 2020
Valtteri Bottas is desperate to bounce back and challenge for the title in 2020, saying he would struggle to accept the idea that he can’t beat Lewis Hamilton.
Bottas delivered his best season in Mercedes colours in 2019 picking up four race wins as he finished P2 in the Championship, yet he was unable to come close to challenging team-mate Hamilton who secured his sixth Championship at the United States GP.
But the Finn is ready to dig down deep and find that extra something he needs to beat his team-mate, because he can’t rest knowing that “some other driver” can do something he can’t.
“It feels like I have to dig very deep to find anything more from my side – how I can be a better driver, how I can perform better, how I can work better with engineers,” he is quoted by Motorsport.com.
“It definitely keeps me working hard because it’s just not easy to beat him. And it requires a lot. That’s pushing me on every single day.
“I would really struggle to accept it, that some other driver can do something that I can’t.
“I accept it completely that Lewis won the title [in 2019] because overall during the season he was better than me. He beat me fair and square.
“But I believe there’s always something that I can do better and I can fix those weaknesses. Maybe I’m a bit more stubborn.”
Speaking of those weaknesses, Bottas believes it all comes down to consistency if he is to become a title contender this year.
“It’s quite clear in my mind,” he confirmed.
“We’re definitely [working] with the engineers and with the team on my development programme.
“Things we’re really focusing on [is] the race week and for my performance that final step I need is consistency.
“Still more adaptability to different circumstances [as well] but the main thing is minimising mistakes.
“There were some qualifying sessions where I made mistakes and that compromised the Sunday and then there was some races where I made mistakes, for example, Hockenheim, I lost a big chunk of points there so [it’s about] trying to get rid of those.
“There’s still a lot I feel I can improve. It’s fine details here and there, a lot related to driving style and tyre management. But it’s a whole lot better than last year.
“Minimising those mistakes, being able to find [the right] mental state that [means] I will be able to perform at my best every single weekend – that’s the tricky part. Like in any sport.”