Valtteri Bottas admits that it “pisses me off” that Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton has so regularly out-qualified him this season.
Hamilton has beaten the Finn five times in qualifying out of seven grands prix to date, including by a margin of over half a second last time out in Belgium, where they shared the front row.
Bottas is quite happy with his race pace, highlighting one-lap performances as a key area to improve on.
“Lewis has been really consistent, not making any mistakes in qualifying,” said the eight-time Formula 1 race winner.
“And as you (see with) the numbers, he’s had the upper hand this year in qualifying, which honestly pisses me off.
“But of course, I’m trying and I do enjoy the challenge and I can’t wait for the next qualifying session next weekend.
“I feel my race pace this year has been better than any year before, so that’s a positive.
“So, I feel like always in the race I’m there and I can fight for it. So now it’s just about trying to perform better and more consistently in qualifying sessions.”
Hamilton converted that pole in Belgium into victory and is now exactly 50 points up on his team-mate in the drivers’ championship, in which they are split by Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen.
Despite being exactly two races off the pace, Bottas has not conceded defeat in the title race just yet.
“Of course, I’m trying everything I can,” he remarked.
“The fact is that it’s not over. There’s 10 or something races (left). Obviously, I had that one kind of a DNF with a puncture at Silverstone, lost points with that.
“If I would give up now then I would rather stay home, so I will keep pushing, I will still keep trying to find anything from myself that I can.
“It’s just really trying to perfect everything,” he added.
“I didn’t in qualifying (at Spa-Francorchamps), Lewis was on pole, he was faster on that lap, then with that pole he could turn it into a win.
“Of course, the weekend really starts with qualifying, trying to be on pole and then those weekends that don’t go for you, you really need to maximise the points…
“I’m working on everything, I’m trying but there’s still many positives I can take.”
The Italian Grand Prix takes place this weekend, with Practice 1 commencing on Friday at 19:00 AEST.