Valtteri Bottas

Bottas: I am not here to finish third

Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas said he’d see finishing third in the Formula 1 drivers’ world championship as a failure after he was handed a new one-year contract by Mercedes.

The Finn trails his team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel by 38 points, and he said he needs to get his act together quickly.

“Anything in Formula 1 is always possible with seven races to go,” Bottas said ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix, the 14th of 20 races this season.

“But I do definitely need to start finishing ahead of Lewis and Sebastian if I want to keep my title hopes alive, and rather sooner than later.”

He added: “I am not here to finish third. I definitely want to be fighting for the title as long as there is possibilities for that.

“I really want to make the most out of the end of the year and I always set my targets very high, so third is not one of them.”

Bottas has won two races this year and has 197 points, while Hamilton (238 points) and Vettel (235) have 10 victories between them.

A one-year deal could leave Bottas vulnerable at the end of next season, with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo among the drivers who will become available.

But Bottas said he now had the opportunity to nail down a spot with Mercedes with his performances this year and next season.

“For sure the team always wants to have options open for the future, I understand 100 percent. But I’m very happy with this. It’s still better than the original contract that I had,” Bottas said.

“As always with my career in F1, it’s going to be completely up to me. If I perform well, there’s no problem and we can have a long future together.”

Big Question: Is Valtteri F1 world champion material?