Valtteri Bottas is adamant that this year has been his strongest in Formula 1, despite losing the title to Lewis Hamilton for a second season.
Bottas had a strong start to this season, winning two of the first five opening races, whilst finishing second in the other three, but the Mercedes driver started to struggle later in the season after retiring in Germany and finishing eighth in Hungary.
Although Bottas’ form picked up in the last few races, having won in both Japan and last time out at Austin, Hamilton was still able to clinch his sixth world title last time out, fending Bottas off for a second consecutive season.
Despite being able to challenge Hamilton right down to the wire, Bottas feels that this season has been his best to date as he has been able to get on top of some of his weaknesses, although he acknowledged that he still hasn’t managed the perfect year.
“I believe if I look at it overall, the season yes, it’s been my best so far in Formula 1 but still not a season that I’m aiming for.” commented the 30-year-old in Thursday’s press conference at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
“[I]Still need a bit more consistency, fewer mistakes but the thing that gives me good feeling and confidence for the future is now actually really starting to see the work we’ve been doing with the engineers and what I’ve been doing with myself, and what I’ve been doing with myself and driving-wise.
“[I’ve] really able to target many of the weaknesses I’ve had, and been able to improve my pace in different circumstances quite a lot.
“So that’s very satisfying to see and makes you want more.”
Although Bottas has failed to beat his team-mate over the course of a season, he is still adamant that he will not use mind games to get the upper-hand and believes it would distract him from being able to perform at his best on the track.
“I’ve always preferred to do the talking on track and if I can keep up my performances and focus all my energy that I have into my own performance I think that’s going to be the best bet for me.” he added.
“If I start wasting energy elsewhere, it might take my mind off the driving and what really matters,
“If I can then perform at the level I want to; normally that tends to upset the other side of the garage a little bit and I know that being on the other side as well, it can lead you to mistakes and so on.
“I have a plan for next year and I’m not really willing to share it so we will find out.”