Bottas plans to 'drive like I stole it' in 2019

Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1. 28.11.2018.
© XPB 

Valtteri Bottas is determined to turn the page after a disappointing sophomore season with Mercedes in Formula 1, and return to the fray with new zeal in 2019.

"I just want to go for it and drive like I stole it," he said when asked what his approach to the new season would be. "Like it's my last race, last day ever. I think that's it - that's a good plan."

Bottas claimed three wins in his first season with Mercedes in 2017 after his move from Williams, and four pole positions. He'd expected to build on that this year, but it was not to be.

Although he started from pole on two occasions in Austria and Russia, he was unable to seal the deal with a single win although he was runner-up on seven occasions.

Despite that, Bottas felt that his driving was of a better standard in 2018. "I think performance-wise this year was better, but results-wise last year was better.

"Qualifying pace and race pace, compared to my teammate, has been better this year on average, which is positive," he insisted. "But the results haven't.

"We need to analyse why the results weren't there. Obviously sometimes it was unlucky, sometimes were different reasons."

The Finn was denied a seemingly certain victory in Baku when he suffered a race-ending puncture after running over a piece of debris on the track. And in Sochi, he was asked to hand over the lead of the race to team mate Lewis Hamilton in order to boost the Briton's title campaign.

Despite these painful setbacks, Bottas said he was determined to retain a positive approach to his third season with the Silver Arrows.

"In this sport, when you're kind of sometimes thinking of yourself, you're thinking all kind of different things.

"The main thing is always the thought that I've got to be the strongest, and I've never told myself that I'm not good enough to do this.

"I still believe so, even though I feel disappointed for the season," he continued. "I know that I can do much more than what this season proves, and that is the main thing."

Bottas knows he needs to perform next season if he's to keep his race seat safe from the threat of Mercedes junior Esteban Ocon, who is sitting out 2019 in the hope of getting a drive with the team the following year.

"This sport is funny, you never know what happens in the future," Bottas said.

"But I think the right mentality for me to approach next year is like I have nothing to lose."

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