Valtteri Bottas insists he hasn’t given up on chasing down Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ championship, but blames himself that he’s left to rely on luck.
Hamilton can become drivers’ champion for a sixth time at the Mexican Grand Prix next weekend, but in order to do so will need to outscore Bottas by 14 points, meaning a top-three finish is the minimum requirement. Bottas won in Japan to cut Hamilton’s lead by nine points, but with the difference currently at 64 points says it is his own fault and will need to be very fortunate to close the gap significantly.
“I don’t really give up on anything as long as there’s a theoretical chance so there’s no point in that,” Bottas said. “(Japan) was a good example on the track where it’s difficult to overtake. You start third, OK, two Ferraris ahead, it’s a difficult case to win but it’s possible.
“Yeah, everything’s possible. Although, I’m realistic as well that I will need to be very lucky, that’s a fact, to win all the rest of the races but I don’t really think about that much at this point.
“It is my bad, mostly, that I’ve been behind this much in the points compared to Lewis. It’s my fault which I try to fix for the future, but it is where we are now and just take it now race by race and see how it goes.”
Whatever happens from a drivers’ championship point of view, Mercedes wrapped up a sixth consecutive constructors’ title in Japan and Bottas wants the team to try and appreciate what it has achieved.
“I’m very proud obviously,” Bottas said. “We’re making history and, it’s funny with anything you do, if you are getting success sometimes it’s quite tricky to realize that success. Sometimes you have to step outside, a step or two to realize it really. I’m sure we will look back at this afterwards at some point, that wow, we made six and obviously hopefully more – but this moment, yeah, I hope we all can really appreciate it and take the time to enjoy it as well, even though we need to keep pushing.
“It just feels like life moves forwards pretty quickly and it’s very important to enjoy those moments and, at least personally for me, I’m really, really proud, really happy for every single team member. I know the amount of work that has gone into achieving it. So very, very happy for everyone and I just hope everyone realizes that and enjoys it because it’s well-deserved.”