Valtteri Bottas says his motivation has been affected this season after failing to win so far in 2018, while his championship challenge is all but over as his Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport team-mate Lewis Hamilton continues to pull away from the field.
Bottas has had his fair share of bad luck so far this year, none worse than in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix where he lost the lead in the closing laps when he suffered a puncture after running over debris on the start/finish straight, and although he has six podiums, he sits over one hundred points behind Hamilton with only six races remaining.
The Finn said it was always going to be hard to beat Hamilton, especially when he is in the kind of form that has taken him forty points clear of Sebastian Vettel at the top of the standings, but his own aim has changed from taking the title to beating Kimi Räikkönen to third, with three points separating the countrymen heading to Russian Grand Prix at the end of the month.
“It is hard. It’s always going to be hard, trying to beat him,” said Bottas to Motorsport.com. “And he’s having a good run now. He’s obviously really fighting for the championship and I’m not really anymore.
“I still want whatever is possible in the championship, I think third at least is possible so that’s going to be the goal for me. I’ll keep motivated and keep trying to bring good results. But I really feel like I need some good results now.
“It’s been a while since I had good proper results, nearly one year since I won a race. So for confidence and everything, I need some results.”
Bottas is likely to play a key role in supporting his team-mate to ensure he secures the championship, but he acknowledges that Mercedes will expect him to deliver good results, and he will need to stay motivated in order to ensure both titles head the way of the German marquee.
“The team also wants good results from me, but of course if he secures the title then it’s a little bit different,” said Bottas. “I need to try and keep hungry and motivated for each race.
“Obviously mentally for me now compared to the first few races of the season, it is more difficult now to feel that same mentality that you are fighting for the championship and so on.
“I need to put targets for myself, I always need to have a target. If I just turn up like ‘OK I am going to be here to help’, it’s not ideal. I need to have clear targets for each race weekend and that’s what I’m going to do.”