Valtteri Bottas wants to use his success in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix as the blueprint for his 2018 season with Mercedes.
Having been on pole position in Brazil, a bad start saw Bottas have to settle for second place behind Sebastian Vettel at Interlagos. In Abu Dhabi, however, Bottas pulled out an impressive lap in qualifying to beat teammate Lewis Hamilton to pole and duly converted that into victory on Sunday.
Bottas hadn’t won a race since the Austrian Grand Prix in July before the final race of the season and he sees the result as a tangible display of his improvement over the year.
“For me personally it is really important because of the struggles I had after the August break. By working hard with the team I feel that I’ve really managed to improve so many things with my driving and managed to be quicker in different kinds of circumstances,” Bottas said. “That’s the main thing that gives me a lot of confidence for next year. Being on pole and winning the race [in Abu Dhabi] when Lewis was giving everything was a good feeling and it would be nice to continue that from Melbourne.”
The Finn has previously called his debut season for Mercedes a failure because he faded from title contention after the summer break, and he says he will focus on the areas he struggled during the winter to try and raise his game in 2018.
“We will review the whole season, the main points that we need to improve and my main weaknesses especially. In January the same process continues, looking ahead but still really trying to make my weaknesses none. That’s always the target, it’s never possible but you can always try to be near perfect and that’s what we will try to work to. If I work harder than ever this winter then hopefully I can be better than ever next year.”
At present Bottas is out of contract at the end of 2018, having only signed a one-year extension this year, with Toto Wolff previously stating he wants to secure Hamilton’s future before turning his attentions to who will partner the four-time world champion beyond next season.