Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas says he aims to be ‘a bit more selfish’ in how he approaches the 2021 Championship, after a winter of reflection. Valtteri Bottas goes into his fifth season with Mercedes this year, having had his contract extended for one season. Teaming up with Lewis Hamilton again, Bottas is yet to win the intra-team battle at Mercedes while Hamilton has taken every title since 2017. Bottas has come under intense public scrutiny as his partnership with Hamilton has continued, particularly as the World Champion frequently was able to overcome Bottas in the races even when the Finn had started ahead.
Speaking at Mercedes’ launch event on Tuesday, the Finn acknowledged that he hasn’t always coped as well as he could with external pressure and, at times, has also maybe not put enough pressure on himself.
“Some of my years in Formula 1, definitely, I put too much pressure on myself. There’s been times that I’ve taken too much pressure from outside. There’s been also vice versa, that there’s not been maybe enough pressure from from my side. It’s all about finding that balance and, and playing with that.”
“The only thing is to really let the team know, in terms of how much like they’re pressuring you is to discuss things. It’s the same thing with myself, you know, I need to be self honest with everything, and trying to find a good way and a happy head for every single Grand Prix. But that’s the tricky part.”
“That’s the same thing in every sport, you know, there’s not been an athlete ever who’s been completely 100% of their performance capacity in every single event they’ve done but – how to get there more often? That’s the question.”
“For this year, although, yeah, Lewis has won the titles as being teammates all the years now that I’ve been with the team, but still going to this new year, starting from fresh and with a new page – absolutely, I believe that I can fight for the title. And that’s, of course, the ultimate goal for this season and, yeah, that’s my target. But it’s a long way until until the end. You need to take it really step by step.”
Bottas says that he intends to be more authoritative within the team this year, saying that he has to start being ‘more selfish’ in how he approaches his races: “I’m demanding more for myself than ever, obviously, not overdoing things. But the ultimate goal for me this season, when I get to the last race of Abu Dhabi, is that I can look back and say that I did 100%, I did every single bit, that I could win the title, that’s the ultimate goal for this year. And that is going to be same for all the people around me, whoever I’m working with.”
“I’ll demand as much as I feel like I need to, to get the support and get the information that I need. And maybe that way, you know, can be a bit more more selfish. But one year in lifetime giving everything that you have is actually quite short time. And yeah, that’s I think that’s the kind of mindset that I have.”