Valtteri Bottas insists he won’t try to unsettle Lewis Hamilton in order to get the better of his teammate in the same manner that Nico Rosberg did.
During an often tempestuous relationship, Rosberg has previously admitted he resorted to mind games at times in order to try and destabilize Hamilton as they fought over three consecutive drivers’ championships. The approach eventually paid off in 2016 as Rosberg won the title, with the German duly retiring, leading to Mercedes recruiting Bottas.
Hamilton comfortably got the better of Bottas as he won his fourth drivers’ championship last season, but the Finn says he is not willing to use mind games in his attempts to fight back this year.
“For sure every driver has weaknesses and that’s how it goes,” Bottas said. “But rather on focusing too much on him I am going to spend my energy and focusing on myself, on my performance on track and if I perform on the level I am aiming to every single race I hope that will do the job. So I am not going to start wasting my energy for any games.
“For me, if I perform at the level that I aim to perform, I hope to see more on-track battles with Lewis. I just really want to win as many races as I can to try and win the championship. That’s the goal and I don’t need to change anything else to do that.
“I’m not going to start playing any mental games or anything in the team. I think like this it works well. But it’s up to me if I perform on track and I will decided to show muscle if needed.”
And Bottas says he is also happy to see Mercedes challenged even more closely this season as it will drive the team to perform at its best.
“It would be nice to have competition but of course on the other hand we would prefer to be miles ahead of everyone because all we want to do is win! But it is true that when there is a challenge and hard battles it makes you appreciate the results more. For us, to keep us developing ahead of everyone in Formula 1, we need close competition.”