Valtteri Bottas says he is determined to catch up with Lewis Hamilton in the areas in which he is lacking and signalled his intent when he arrived in Singapore wearing a T-shirt with a message to his critics.
Recently, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff observed that the Finn sometimes “struggles” when he is closely following another car in the slipstream.
“Lewis is somehow able to get closer and go for a move. It’s something [Bottas] has to work on,” said Wolff.
Bottas then arrived in the Singapore paddock on Thursday wearing a t-shirt that said on the front: “To whom it may concern, f@ck you.”
The T-shirt is a reference to what Bottas said on the radio when he defied his critics by winning in Australia.
“After 2018, I was very upset with myself,” he admitted in Singapore. “I only have one Formula 1 career and I promised myself I would do my best to show the best Bottas in 2019.”
And so Bottas is willing to take Wolff’s new criticism on board, “There have been times when it was easier for Lewis to stay behind an opponent and attack better. That’s certainly one of Lewis’ strengths and I have to improve that.”
“But I’ve travelled to Singapore knowing that I can still do it. Yes he has a nice points gap, but what I can do is focus on how to do a better job,” he added before crashing during FP1 on Friday.
He summed up his first day at Marina Bay, “I had a bit of an off moment at the end of FP1, which ended my running a little early. I lost the back end in Turn 19 and at this track, with no run-off, you pay the price.
“In the late session, I was lacking pace on every run and on both compounds, so I’m not quite sure everything was right with the car,” added Bottas.