Bottas would be disappointed not to beat Hamilton
By Mat Coch
Monday 22nd March, 2021 - 12:08pm
Valtteri Bottas has admitted he would be disappointed not to beat Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in this year’s Formula 1 world championship.
Bottas joined Hamilton at Mercedes in 2017 following the retirement of Nico Rosberg, and has been bested by his British counterpart in their four seasons together since.
With both drivers out of contract at the end of 2021, it could be the last time the pair head into a new season as team-mates.
“Of course, in a way it would be disappointing, because I’ve been team-mates with Lewis now for several years, and obviously every year that is the goal,” Bottas said.
“But what would be more disappointing is if I look back and realise things that I could have done better or I should have put more effort [into].
“I don’t want to leave any what ifs after this year, that’s the ultimate goal,” he added.
“If I give everything I have, if I maximise myself and the people around me, and give everything I have, then there’s no regrets.
“But I’m speaking as if it’s not with Lewis that I’m fighting or winning titles.
“I haven’t really thought that far. I’m putting full focus on this season and obviously then we’ll see after.”
Bottas is currently on a one-year contract with Mercedes, though suggests he’s in no rush to ink a new deal.
The Finn has rolled through a series of one-year deals since arriving at the Anglo-German team, with team boss Toto Wolff having stated the 31-year-old flourishes with the pressure to perform.
George Russell put himself in the frame for a Mercedes drive for 2022 after a strong performance when he deputised for Hamilton at the Sakhir Grand Prix last year.
Hamilton’s future is also unclear, with the seven-time world champion set to have conversations about hit future with the team during the season.
Despite the pressure to retain his seat, Bottas is in no hurry to enter negotiations.
“I’m honestly in no rush for that,” he admitted.
“I kind of get it. If the team has the opportunity for the big change coming in 2022, to have options, to choose both of their drivers, I think it’s good for the team.
“Honestly, from my side, [there’s] no rush really.
“I’m just full gas for the season, and trying to get to my goals.
“Eventually it will be a talking point [but] not quite yet.”
Bottas made his F1 debut with Williams in 2013, having worked as its test driver the year prior.
Since then, the 31-year-old has accumulated nine grand prix wins and finished second in the championship to Lewis Hamilton for the past two seasons.
Mercedes enters the coming season among the favourites, though it looks to face a renewed challenge from Red Bull if pre-season testing offers any sort of form guide.
Red Bull enjoyed a flawless test, with Max Verstappen topping two of the three days of track action, while Bottas experienced problems during pre-season testing, sitting out much of the opening morning in Bahrain with a gearbox issue.
He then went fastest on the second day, though the competition looks to have closed between Mercedes and Red Bull at the top of the order.
The 2021 Formula 1 season begins this weekend, with opening practice for the Bahrain Grand Prix set to begin at 22:30 AEDT on Friday.