Valtteri Bottas says it is his intention to come back as a stronger driver in 2019 so to fight for the World Drivers’ Championship after seeing team-mate Lewis Hamilton clinch his fifth title in the Mexican Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver saw his own title aspirations disappear a long time ago following a run of bad luck and relatively poor results, and he is still to stand on the top step of the podium in 2018 despite having one of the fastest cars on the grid.
“Big congratulations to Lewis!” said Bottas. “He’s had another strong season, especially in the second half, and really deserved this title.
When I lost my opportunity for the title this year, I tried to help him a little to win the World Championship, but I’m already looking forward to fight again next year.”
Despite the joys of Hamilton’s title, Bottas was disappointed to struggle so much during the race, with the Finn making three stops for tyres when the plan had been to just make the one stop. Mercedes struggled to maintain the tyres which necessitated the extra pit stops, although his late race switch to the Hypersoft enabled him to take the fastest lap.
“I’m really happy for Lewis, but we can’t be satisfied with today’s race, it was very difficult,” admitted the Finn. “The start of the race was actually pretty good, but then we started to struggle with the tyres.
“The tyre life on this track was really poor; I ended up doing three stops, which is two stops more than we predicted. I tried to manage the tyres, I made sure not to slide, but they still just fell apart. I don’t know yet why we struggled so much and on all three different compounds, so we will have to look into that and find out why we ran into these problems.
“I think most teams struggled a bit, but maybe not as much as we did, so we will have to investigate. Again, congrats to Lewis – now we need to make sure to keep pushing and claim the constructors’ championship as well!”