Valtteri Bottas accepts that he needs to “be better” after a difficult run of form, but feels “full of energy” for the Formula 1 season finale in Abu Dhabi.
Bottas entered the 2020 season aiming to challenge Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton for the world championship, but struggled to compete with the Briton throughout the year.
Bottas has not finished on the podium since the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix four races ago, and was outpaced by Hamilton’s stand-in, George Russell, in Bahrain last weekend.
The Finn revealed that he avoided looking at any news or social media in the wake of a disappointing Sakhir Grand Prix on Sunday, where he finished eighth, allowing him to reset for this weekend.
“When a driver is having a bad race, sure you have to deal with it,” Bottas said.
“I’ve learned from the past that sometimes the best thing to do is to block everything and not look at anything, so after Sunday, I really haven’t looked at a single headline or a single news article, or social media.
“That’s the way sometimes you have to do it, and it worked for me. I feel full of energy again for the new weekend, and feel that I’m in a place that I can perform, so that’s the main thing.”
But Bottas accepted that he has struggled in recent races and not been performing at his best, particularly in the two Bahrain rounds.
“Since Imola, it’s been a run of really bad luck, and I cannot remember the last time I was on the podium,” Bottas said.
“It’s true that I feel that I’ve not really been performing at my best in the last two races, but of course I still try to extract everything as I can.
“There’s many factors in this sport and sometimes it’s luck, sometimes it’s what do you do yourself in the car and outside the car.
“All that I can say that I can do much better than if you look at the last four races on average, I feel that I need to be better.”
Bottas had been sitting second in Sakhir before a safety car halted his pursuit of Russell, with a subsequent pit stop error then dropping him down the order, leaving him on cold tyres for the restart.
Bottas said it was a “tough” race for Mercedes, who recorded its worst results of the season, but was eager to hit back with victory in Abu Dhabi to close out the season.
“It started from the from the race start,” Bottas said. “It could have been obviously been quite a different race. But it’s all analysed, and I know what I can try and do better next time.
“That’s about the reflection and of course, really happy that there’s a race immediately a week after a disappointing race for myself.
“I know from the past, it’s not everything to have the best race of your life or a positive ending to the season.
“But for sure, it helps. It would be much nicer feeling to go into the break with a with a good result, a race win under your belt.
“That is the only target for this weekend, back to a normal type of track and everything. I look forward to it.”
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