Its no secret that 2019 is a do-or-die year for Valtteri Bottas, the Finn has massively underperformed relative to his teammate and anything other than regular wins and a title tilt will keep him in the most coveted seat in motor racing.
Bottas is no fool and knows exactly what went wrong last year, and now has to plot a plan to bounce back while waiting in the wings is young Esteban Ocon ready to step up should the driver of the #44 car not deliver on expectations this season.
In an interview with the official F1 website, the 29-year-old acknowledged his failings in 2018, “It was a disappointing season and it even made me nearly angry to myself that in my six years in Formula 1, I haven’t been achieving my target yet. I do have time, but I’m starting to realise that you definitely have only one career, and I don’t want to be in this situation again.”
“My target for the year is to win as much as I can – even though I didn’t win a race last year – and only one target for the whole season is the world championship for me personally, and for us as a team.”
“I still feel that I haven’t achieved anything in Formula 1, so for myself, I still have a lot to achieve. I do want to meet my targets… [and] I’m willing to do, basically, whatever it takes to achieve those, and really just mentally prepared to go all in for the year.”
“[Lewis and I] realised that if we can work together inside of the team, in the meetings, it’s benefitting us as drivers. But we both know at the same time that when we put the helmet on, when we’re in the car, we never want to be behind the other.”
“To fight against Lewis, I need to be at my very best and that comes [down] to many details. Driving-wise, this winter, I’ve been trying to attack and really think and learn about the main points [on how to beat him]; there are normally kind of trends that I have a deficit to Lewis, [certain] type of corners where that is happening.”
“So [I’ve been working on] all the details in the driving, as well as my approach to the race weekends, all racing situations, mind-set, attitude – everything.”
“I want this season to be my best season so far and not to leave any stone unturned. At the end of the season, I don’t want to think, ‘I wish I would have tried harder’ or ‘I would have done something differently’.”
“I’ll just try and be the perfect me I can be this year,” explained Bottas who will start his 119th Grand Prix when he lines up on the grid for the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on 17 March.