Honda website
Honda website

MARCH 1, 2018

Bottas not planning Hamilton mind games

Valtteri Bottas says he will focus on his driving rather than "psychological games" in order to beat Lewis Hamilton in 2018.

The Finn joined Mercedes at the eleventh hour prior to last season, and although he secured a new deal for 2018, Bottas was clearly outpaced by champion Hamilton.

Now, his quest is to secure yet another new deal, for 2019.

"Mercedes has been the best team for years now," Bottas said in Barcelona. "Everyone wants my cockpit. I just have to make the most of every opportunity."

Team boss Toto Wolff has said he will not start to think about the occupant of the second car for 2019 until the summer, but Bottas said he is confident he can stake a claim.

"Last year, sometimes I had to drive setups that were not to my liking," he said.

"This year it's different and hopefully it will be easier for me to drive it.

"I've been able to get involved in the development of the new car and I know the team very well. That's why my goal is clear.

"I want to drive on a higher level, I want to have a say in the victory at every grand prix, I want to be world champion," Bottas added.

He acknowledges that it will involve going "wheel to wheel" with quadruple world champion Hamilton more often, just as Nico Rosberg had to do in 2016.

But Bottas insisted: "I do not have to change my approach in that way.

"I'm not a fan of psychological games. It's not my style. I do not want to pay much attention to what Lewis is doing and what his weaknesses may be. I want to focus on myself.

"And if I achieve everything that I expect from my myself, I will be strong."