Valtteri Bottas is looking to make the most of a season “full of opportunities”, after a solid – if unspectacular – first year with Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport.
Bottas, who made the switch to Mercedes from Williams Martini Racing for 2017 to replace the retiring Nico Rosberg, claimed his first three Formula 1 wins on his way to third in the Drivers’ Championship, fifty-eight points behind team-mate and World Champion Lewis Hamilton.
However, the Finn believes that he will show signs of major improvement in 2018, having had a year to settle in to his new climate.
“[It is] a new season full of opportunities,” he said in an interview on Mercedes’ official website. “And my aim is to take those opportunities this year.
“I have one target, everyone knows what it is. I have learned massively in my five years in Formula 1, especially in 2017, so I have high targets. I started training immediately after the start of the New Year. And I am already so keen to get going again.”
Bottas added that he has been able to have a part in the early development of the 2018 car, having previously missed the boat in 2017, courtesy of his late arrival.
“The team is working so hard on the car, and this year I have been able to follow that process,” he said. “Last year I joined and the car was ready.
“Everyone starts from zero! It is going to be a new season and we need to make the most of it.”
Despite Mercedes once again holding the tag of championship favourites going into the first pre-season test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya at the end of the month, Bottas emphasised that the team is taking nothing for granted, as it looks for a fifth successive championship win.
“We have no idea where we are going to be,” the 28-year-old mused. “For us as a team, we want to stay at the top. I am sure there are many teams that are willing to beat us. But, our will to stay at the top is hopefully bigger.”