Valtteri Bottas says that his recent sustained run of good form is helping him keep up his motivation despite a lack of race wins.
The Mercedes driver hasn’t won this season, despite coming close. His last Grand Prix victory was in Abu Dhabi at the end of 2017, but he’s been runner-up four times so far this season.
“Even though I’ve not scored the points I would have wanted, I have always performed at the level the team requires me to do,” Bottas said.
“I’m more or less on the level I want personally. That’s a good thing,” he insisted. “I’ve felt I have been able to improve my weaknesses, and strengths.
“No matter if the car’s been good to drive or very difficult to drive, I feel I’ve been able to extract what there is.”
He said the proof of that was in how near he had been to his team mate Lewis Hamilton all season.
“It’s been quite close,” he pointed out. “Overall performance has just been closer, there have been less bigger gaps between me and Lewis.”
The 28-year-old admitted that a few more wins would be nice to have. So far he has three victories to his credit since joining Mercedes at the start of 2017.
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“Having a few wins never does anything bad for you for the future,” he said. “But at least the team knows exactly how I’m performing and the direction I’m going with my improvement.”
“Only the team sees in great detail how I perform every week,” he added.
That’s important as he seeks another year at Brackley, with his current contract set to expire at the end of 2018.
Earlier this season Botas was criticised for not doing more to attack Sebastian Vettel for the lead of the Bahrain Grand Prix. And last weekend he was unable to prevent Vettel from passing him for victory in the British Grand Prix.
“Initially it was fine,” Bottas recalled of the closing laps of the race. “But he started to get really close and I had to push every lap like a qualifying lap.”
Bottas had been left out on older tyres than the Ferrari which had pitted under a late safety car. Eventually the difference in grip was just too much.
“It was like driving on ice,” said the Finn. “I started to lost a lot of grip, especially the rear end, and traction was getting weaker.
“That’s why he could always get close to me out of slow-speed corners and get the DRS.
“I was trying everything I could to defend but it was a matter of time,” he admitted. “I really tried but there was nothing we could do really.”
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