After admitting he was “beating myself up a lot” when his performances were not to the level he hoped in 2017, Valtteri Bottas has worked to change his mindset this year.
The Finn signed for Mercedes as a replacement for Nico Rosberg in early 2017 and started in impressive fashion, finishing on the podium in Australia and taking pole position at the third race in Bahrain before securing his first win one round later in Russia. However, despite finishing the year with three victories, Bottas had a number of difficult races as Lewis Hamilton wrapped up the drivers’ championship and he believes he needs to remain more positive if he gets beaten by his teammate.
“Lewis is a great driver and I should never get upset if he is quicker than me at times,” Bottas said. “Then I just need to accept it and learn from those. For sure I was beating myself up a lot last year when I was struggling but that’s all part of the learning process and you always learn about yourself as well every season. I am going in with a good mindset for this year. I know I can do a lot of good things so let’s see race by race.”
Asked if he has the tools to be world champion this year, Bottas added: “I believe I have all the tools.
“I can’t see any reason why not. I’ve had five seasons in Formula 1 and my second year with this team. I won some races last year so I know I can do it.”
While Mercedes showed impressive pace during preseason testing, the team struggled with blistering on the soft compound tire. Bottas is expecting a strong challenge from Ferrari and Red Bull at this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix.
“We definitely think it’s going to be a three-team battle this year which is always good for Formula 1 and good for us as well to have some clear targets and someone always to push us forward to make us work harder.
“I think consistency is definitely going to be the key. It’s a long season ahead and with the weaknesses we saw last year with the car – for example in Monaco or Singapore – we’ve tried to make those things better and then through the season we can be more consistent. We will find out.”