Valtteri Bottas says he is not disheartened by his failure to beat Lewis Hamilton in the 2020 Formula 1 driver’s championship, with only “fine margins” separating the Mercedes teammates.
Starting the year with a straightforward victory from pole in Austria, Bottas looked like his fourth season alongside Hamilton might be the one where he finally offered a serious challenge for the championship.
Instead, Hamilton largely dominated over the next 13 races, wrapping-up the title with his tenth win of the season last-time out in Turkey, having taken an unassailable lead of 110 points with three races remaining.
Indeed, such was Hamilton’s success in 2020 that he has more wins this year than Bottas has in his whole career, but the Finn maintains the results don’t tell the full story.
“It’s a fact that for me the championship is lost, but I still keep pushing and if I look back at this year there are many positives I can take,” he told reporters ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix. “I have been able to improve in many areas, for sure not still enough to win the title, but I’ll keep pushing.
“Yes, there were some unlucky races where I lost some points, but there were also races where Lewis was better than me and that’s, in the end, how he made the difference.
“Sometimes it was just very fine margins about how qualifying or the race ended up, in terms of what kind of strategy I was pushing for or how things ended up.
“You know, in this sport the points’ difference can look pretty big now, I know, but, in the end it comes down to fine margins and I’ve been unable to be consistent at such a top level as Lewis has this year and that made the difference. It’s not a lot but it was enough to win. That’s something I’ll keep pushing on for the future, because I feel I’m getting better each year.
“That gives me hope and motivation and that will to push more and try to keep growing for the future, so I’m looking forward to next year.”
Now looking for a consolation prize in Bahrain, Bottas insisted he still had the confidence to deliver his best possible performance.
“For sure I’m confident – that needs to be the mindset going into any race that you need to have the confidence,” he said. “And if you don’t have it, you need to find it somewhere, whether if it’s with extra preparation or whatever you do between the races.
“You always have to find it. I’m in a good mindset and for sure I’m here to win.”