Valtteri Bottas took his fourth victory of 2019 at the Circuit of the Americas on Sunday, but it was not enough to deny Mercedes AMG Motorsport team-mate Lewis Hamilton the Drivers’ Championship crown.
Bottas feels the consistency of his team-mate has earned Hamilton the title, but his own form has been getting better and better, which makes him eager to get the 2020 season underway where he feels he can be an even stronger contender for the title than in 2019.
Hamilton’s second place secured the Briton his sixth World Championship triumph, but Bottas’ win ensured he will finish second, the highest he’s finished in his Formula 1 career to date.
“First of all huge congratulations to Lewis – six championships is an impressive achievement!” said Bottas. “He had a strong season and he deserves the title, he was better overall.
“Lewis is a tough opponent, he has very few weaknesses, makes almost no mistakes and drives very consistently. But I’ve been gaining some good momentum, so I’m looking forward to another close fight with him next year.”
Bottas capped off a good weekend in the United States by using a two-stop strategy to get the better of Hamilton, with the Finn making a late pass on the Briton heading down the long back straight.
It was not the intention to make two pit stops, but when Max Verstappen and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing rolled the dice by making their own second stop, and with new tyres proving to be a much better and quicker option, Bottas was forced to gamble on that second stop.
“It’s been a really good weekend for me and the team,” said Bottas. “I struggled at this track in previous years, so it was great to cross the line in first place.
“It was not an easy race; I had a strong start and a good first stint, but we had to switch to a two-stop to cover Max and I was a bit worried that Lewis on the one-stop might be on the better strategy.
“It was a proper fight and quite a bit of fun; I had to really push, but my pace was strong and I managed to catch Lewis towards the end. We had a good battle on track and I passed him to secure the win. It feels really good to win the race like that when you have to really fight for it.”